Iowa Women's Basketball

Hannah Stewart's career-high sends Iowa to fifth straight win

15th-ranked Hawkeyes handle Purdue, 72-58, in front of Carver-high crowd of 9,319

IOWA CITY — How high has Megan Gustafson set the bar?

Twenty-five points. Eleven rebounds.

“Off night.”

“Isn’t it sad we have to hold the standards like that up to somebody?” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said, with a hint of a laugh.

Not so sad when her “post buddy” (phrased by Makenzie Meyer) comes through like Hannah Stewart did Sunday afternoon.

Stewart scored a career-high 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting, and that helped carry 15th-ranked Iowa past Purdue, 72-58, in a Big Ten women’s basketball showdown before a season-high crowd of 9,319 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa (16-4 overall, 7-2 Big Ten) won its fifth straight game, hitting the midpoint of the league slate in a second-place tie with Maryland, one game behind Rutgers.

“We’ve positioned ourselves well,” Bluder said. “It’s going to become a little more of a challenge in the second half.”

The Hawkeyes play five of their last nine regular-season games on the road, starting with Michigan on Thursday.

A heavy favorite for Big Ten player of the year, Gustafson was a lukewarm 10 of 20 from the floor Sunday, including a stretch of six straight misses in the first half.

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“They’re a good defensive team,” Gustafson said. “They were able to block some of my shots. That’s going to happen.”

Stewart was there to pick up the slack.

“I was just kind of taking what was there. I didn’t try to force anything,” she said. “I wasn’t happy with my offensive game (against Rutgers on Wednesday), so I came in here a couple of nights this week when classes were done.”

Purdue (15-7, 6-3) erased a 13-point deficit to tie the game, 47-47, on Karissa McLaughlin’s two free throws with 2:01 left in the third quarter. Stewart scored off a fast-break feed from Tania Davis to give the Hawkeyes the lead heading to the final period.

Then, closing time was Gustafson’s time. The All-American scored 12 fourth-quarter points.

She was at her best in the first minute of the final quarter, scoring inside on one end, blocking a shot and gathering a rebound on the other, then scoring again for a 53-47 advantage.

Ae’Rianna Harris scored for Purdue, then Meyer hit a 3-pointer, Gustafson scored again, then Stewart converted to put the Hawkeyes up by 11.

Purdue closed within 62-57, then Gustafson found Stewart for a basket and Iowa wrapped it up from the foul line.

Meyer scored eight points, Davis and Kathleen Doyle added seven apiece. That guard trio combined for 20 assists (nine by Davis).

“It’s so much fun, getting the ball to a teammate for a score,” Meyer said.

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Iowa had 24 assists, compared to eight turnovers. Purdue’s assist-to-turnover count was 11 to 13.

Dominique Oden paced the Boilermakers with 17 points and nine rebounds. McLaughlin added 16 points, Harris 12.

The Hawkeyes led, 37-27, at halftime, and it was 43-30 before Purdue got even with a 17-4 run.

IOWA 72, PURDUE 58

At Iowa City

PURDUE (58): Ae’Rianna Harris 4-13 4-4 12, Karissa McLaughlin 5-9 2-2 16, Dominique Oden 7-16 0-0 17, Kayana Traylor 0-3 0-0 0, Tamara Farquhar 1-3 0-0 2, Cassidy Hardin 0-3 0-0 0, Fatou Diagne 4-7 0-0 8, Nyagoa Gony 0-0 0-0 0, Lyndsey Whilby 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 22-56 7-8 58.

IOWA (72): Hannah Stewart 10-12 1-1 21, Megan Gustafson 10-20 5-6 25, Makenzie Meyer 3-6 0-0 8, Tania Davis 2-7 2-2 7, Kathleen Doyle 3-8 0-0 7, Alexis Sevillian 0-2 0-0 0, Monika Czinano 1-1 0-0 2, Amanda Ollinger 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 30-57 8-9 72.

Halftime: Iowa 37, Purdue 27. 3-point goals: Purdue 7-18 (McLaughlin 4-7, Oden 3-7, Traylor 0-1, Hardin 0-2, Whilby 0-1), Iowa 4-15 (Meyer 2-4, Davis 1-3, Doyle 1-6, Sevillian 0-2). Team fouls: Purdue 15, Iowa 9. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Purdue 29 (Oden 9), Iowa 33 (Gustafson 11). Assists: Purdue 11 (Oden 5), Iowa 24 (Doyle 9). Steals: Purdue 5 (Harris, Oden 2), Iowa 5 (Doyle 2). Turnovers: Purdue 13, Iowa 8.

Attendance: 9,319.

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

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