2019 NCAA TOURNAMENT

Iowa women's basketball advances to Elite 8 for first time in 26 years

Hawkeyes stop NC State, 79-61, in Saturday's Sweet 16

Iowa Hawkeyes forward Megan Gustafson (10) reacts after drawing a NC State Wolfpack foul during the second quarter of their Sweet 16 Greensboro regional game against the NC State Wolfpack at the NCAA basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, NC, on Saturday, March 30, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes forward Megan Gustafson (10) reacts after drawing a NC State Wolfpack foul during the second quarter of their Sweet 16 Greensboro regional game against the NC State Wolfpack at the NCAA basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, NC, on Saturday, March 30, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Iowa Hawkeyes will be playing April basketball.

No fooling.

Eighth-ranked Iowa answered a third-quarter flurry by No. 10 North Carolina State and won Saturday’s regional semfinal of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, 79-61, at Greensboro Coliseum.

The Hawkeyes (29-6) advance to face No. 1 Baylor or No. 18 South Carolina in a regional final at 6 p.m. CT Monday. The winner moves on to the Final Four April 5-7 at Tampa, Fla.

Iowa is in the Elite Eight for the fourth time, the first since its Final Four season of 1993. The Hawkeyes’ 29 wins match a program best; the 1987-88 team went 29-2.

Megan Gustafson registered 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Hawkeyes. Hannah Stewart had a double-double of her own — 16 and 10 — and Tania Davis netted 10 points and six assists.

North Carolina State (28-6) carved a 13-point halftime deficit to 43-38, But Alexis Sevillian turned the tide with a right-baseline 3-pointer. Gustafson scored from inside on the next possession to rebuild the lead to 10, and Iowa was back in control, 56-44, by the end of the period.

Sevillian struck again from deep to give the Hawkeyes their largest lead of the game, 63-46.

The Hawkeyes put together an eight-point run late in the first quarter for a 16-9 lead. Gustafson didn’t score until hitting a pair of free throws at the 2:38 mark, then added a basket shortly thereafter.

The margin grew to 26-14 at the 7:37 mark of the second period, prompting a Wolfpack timeout. Kathleen Doyle converted a steal into a basket, then Davis drilled a corner 3-pointer to extend the lead to 12.

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A pair of free throws from Gustafson gave the Hawkeyes a 30-16 advantage, and the Hawkeyes matched it twice more in the first half. It was 37-24 at intermission.

Kiara Leslie paced North Carolina State with 16 points. Elissa Cunane added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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