LINCOLN, Neb. — Iowa senior Megan Gustafson has as dynamic of an offensive skill-set as any player in the country.
One of her favorite parts has nothing to do with points, but denying another team a second chance or creating a second opportunity.
Gustafson poured in a game-high 29 points and a career-high 20 rebounds as Iowa downed Nebraska, 74-58, Monday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“Rebounding id something I love to do,” Gustafson said. “My teammates need those extra possessions.”
Nebraska’s (13-15, 8-9 Big Ten) size was a bit of a concern for Iowa, led by posts Kate Cain and Ashtyn Veerbeek.
Gustafson and Hannah Stewart neutralized that.
Gustafson grabbed 17 defensive rebounds and Stewart eight as Iowa out-rebounded Nebraska 44-31.
“We needed to be active on the boards, trying to get around, move our feet, be in the best position possible on the blocks,” Gustafson said.
As stellar has Gustafson has been in her Iowa career, she’d never reached the 20-rebound mark in a single game until Monday night.
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“When you think she did something she’s never done before in this time of her career, it’s hard to imagine,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “She’s so strong going to the glass. If it gets near her, she’s pulling it in.”
Gustafson took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points in the frame as Iowa expanded upon a 52-47 lead after three quarters.
Iowa (22-6, 13-4) shot 30 of 57 overall from the floor and 10 of 13 at the free throw line.
“We were just taking the right shots when they were there,” Stewart said.
Makenzie Meyer dished out a career-high 10 assists. Kathleen Doyle added eight dimes.
“That’s the awesome thing about our guards is they’re willing to pass and get it inside, get the easier shot,” Stewart said.
Iowa responded from a sluggish first 10 minutes with a dominant second 10 minutes The Hawkeyes shot 63 percent from the floor (10 of 16) in the second quarter, turning a 16-12 deficit after the first quarter into a 35-26 halftime lead.
“For us to come in here and get a good road win, this is a good, good road win,” Bluder said.
Iowa didn’t get the help it needed elsewhere, though.
Maryland clinched a share of the Big Ten Conference title with a 58-55 win at Purdue.