Iowa sprints away from Missouri, marches to the Sweet 16

Hawkeyes dust Missouri in NCAA Tournament second round, 68-52

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IOWA CITY — The buzzer rang, the teams shook hands and Megan Gustafson slapped the floor.

Hannah Stewart had another idea, a more amorous way to treat the Carver-Hawkeye parquet.

“It was an awesome way to finish off four years here,” Stewart said after summoning Gustafson and Tania Davis for a kiss of the center-court Tigerhawk.

It was a bittersweet swan song. But mostly sweet, as in Sweet 16.

Gustafson poured in 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, and eighth-ranked Iowa dusted Missouri, 68-52, in an NCAA women’s basketball tournament second-round game in front of 12,376 Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa (28-6) advances to the Sweet 16 for the seventh time, the first since 2015 and just the second since 1996. The Hawkeyes will play Saturday at Greensboro, N.C., at a time to be determined.

The opponent will be the winner of Monday’s second-round game between No. 10 North Carolina State (27-5) and No. 17 Kentucky (25-7).

Iowa is 17-0 at Carver this season. It was the final home appearance for Gustafson, Stewart and Davis.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” said Gustafson, who became the Big Ten career leader in rebounds. “Carver has been so good to me. It’s sad to run out of the tunnel for the last time here, but I’m so excited to keep things going.”

“This means so much to me,” said Davis, who has come back from two knee injuries. “To get back to this point, it’s everything I ever dreamed of.”

Two Iowa surges spelled the difference.


Missouri (24-11) led for most of the first half, but the Hawkeyes constructed a 12-0 spree in the second quarter for a 30-25 advantage. Mizzou star Sophie Cunningham was whistled for her second and third fouls in that run.

“The best way to defend somebody like her is to get her off the court,” Kathleen Doyle said.

An All-American, Cunningham managed just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting from the field.

“They just had me,” Cunningham said. “They’re a good team, and we didn’t get to the free-throw line at all.”

The Tigers shot just two free throws, making one. That comes on the heels of a 0-for-0 free-throw ledger by Mercer in the first round.

Iowa led 33-29 at halftime, then Missouri tied it at 39-39 on Amber Smith’s basket with 5:55 left in the third quarter.

The Hawkeyes responded with a game-breaking surge, a 19-2 sprint in the next 11 minutes to take control for good.

“It makes it hard when you have a hard time scoring,” Missouri Coach Robin Pingeton said. “You’ve got to give Iowa a lot of credit.”

Makenzie Meyer continued her late-season tear, adding 18 points for the Hawkeyes. Doyle scored 15.


Iowa won this one on the defensive end. The 52 points allowed was the Hawkeyes’ third-most stingy of the season.

“We just tried to be locked in on defense,” Gustafson said. “You can’t control a lot of things, but you can control what you do on defense.”

In the first quarter, Gustafson overtook former Ohio State player Jantel Lavender as the Big Ten’s all-time leading rebounder. She has 1,438 career boards.

Amber Smith led Mizzou with 21 points.

For the second time in two weeks, the Hawkeyes paraded up a ladder, scissors in hand. Neither of the nets survived, as about 3,000 fans stayed to watch.

“I’ve got another week of battle with these guys,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “I couldn’t be happier.”


NCAA Second Round, at Iowa City

MISSOURI (52): Cierra Porter 4-10 1-2 9, Sophie Cunningham 3-11 0-0 8, Lauren Aldridge 2-8 0-0 6, Jordan Roundtree 2-5 0-0 5, Amber Smith 9-19 0-0 21, Hannah Schuchts 0-2 0-0 0, Jordan Chavis 1-2 0-0 3, Emmanuelle Tahane 0-1 0-0 0, Haley Troup 0-0 0-0 0, Kelsey Winfrey 0-0 0-0 0, Nadia Green 0-0 0-0 0, Elle Brown 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-58 1-2 52.

IOWA (68): Hannah Stewart 2-5 0-0 4, Megan Gustafson 10-15 4-4 24, Makenzie Meyer 6-9 2-4 18, Tania Davis 2-7 2-2 7, Kathleen Doyle 6-13 3-4 15, Alexis Sevillian 0-1 0-0 0, Amanda Ollinger 0-0 0-0 0, Monika Czinano 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-50 11-14 68.

Halftime: Iowa 33, Missouri 29. 3-point goals: Missouri 9-31 (Cunningham 2-9, Aldridge 2-8, Roundtree 1-3, Smith 3-7, Schuchts 0-2, Chavis 1-2), Iowa 5-13 (Meyer 4-7, Davis 1-3, Doyle 0-2, Sevillian 0-1). Team fouls: Missouri 12, Iowa 10. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Missouri 29 (Smith 9), Iowa 34 (Gustafson 19). Assists: Missouri 15 (Smith 4), Iowa 17 (Davis 6). Steals: Missouri 4 (four with 1), Iowa 8 (Stewart, Doyle 3). Turnovers: Missouri 14, Iowa 11.

Attendance: 12,376.

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

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