Iowa Women's Basketball

Tania Davis delivers a game-winner for Iowa against Iowa State

No. 16 Iowa beats ISU for the third straight year, 73-70

IOWA CITY — According to Kathleen Doyle, Tania Davis is “a dog. Just a gamer. A tough cookie.”

And Wednesday night, a hero.

Davis hit a fadeaway 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to lift 16th-ranked Iowa past Iowa State, 73-70, in a women’s basketball thriller before 6,289 Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

A senior who has battled through two ACL injuries in the past two years, Davis walked into the press room, beaming.

“How’s everybody doing?” she said, sliding into a chair at the podium. “I’m trending on Twitter.”

Shortly thereafter, she turned more serious.

“Everything I’ve had to go through ... all the pain, the struggles, the hours of rehab ... Everybody practices those shots in the gym by themselves. I do stepbacks all the time.”

Iowa State’s Ashley Joens missed a baseline 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Hawkeyes (6-2) won for the third straight year in the series.

“Davis makes hers, Ashley misses hers. That’s basketball,” ISU Coach Bill Fennelly said.

This game was full of layers:

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• Doyle played her first game of the season after suffering a broken left hand five weeks ago.

• Megan Gustafson set Iowa’s career rebounding record.

• Joens, a freshman from Iowa City High, returned to her hometown, and struggled.

But Davis’ shot trumped them all.

Surprisingly, Hannah Stewart was the first option on the Hawkeyes’ final play. But Davis knew her moment was coming “when they gave me too much space. I knew they were going to be sagging off the guards; they had been doing that to make the entry pass a little more difficult.”

Davis had an opening, and delivered. And that was the final dagger of a fourth quarter that featured five lead changes.

Doyle, who was cleared Monday and practiced Tuesday, came off the bench to score a game-high 22 points. Her basket with 1:49 left gave the Hawkeyes a 68-65 lead.

Then, after Bridget Carleton scored a pair of baskets to put the Cyclones (6-2) in front, 69-68, Doyle made two free throws to give Iowa a 70-69 edge.

The Hawkeyes were 15 of 15 from the line; ISU was 9 of 17.

Carleton made the first of two free throws to tie it at 70 with 27 seconds left, setting the stage for Davis, who shot over Carleton’s outstretched effort.

“We said Gustafson would be their first option,” Fennelly said. “We certainly didn’t want to foul. We wanted to make them hit a tough shot. And (Davis) hit a tough shot.”

“I should have been a little closer to her,” Carleton said.

Stewart added 14 points and eight rebounds. Gustafson took just seven shots from the floor, making four, and registered 13 points and 16 rebounds.

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Gustafson entered the game needing four rebounds to supplant Cindy Haugejorde (1976-80) as Iowa’s all-time leading rebounder, and wasted no time.

Her fourth board came at the 4:30 mark of the first quarter.

“I love rebounding; it’s one of my favorite things,” said Gustafson, whose career total stands at 1,080. “This is special for sure.”

Gustafson needs 10 points to reach the 2,000-point mark for her career, and is a cinch to get it Saturday, when the Hawkeyes host IUPUI.

Carleton paced the Cyclones with 21 points, and Alexa Middleton added 20.

Joens, who was selected Miss Iowa Basketball 2018 at City High, was 1-for-10 from the floor (0 for 6 from deep) and missed a pair of free throws, scoring two points.

“She struggled tonight, but she’ll be fine,” Carleton said. “She’ll be in the gym tomorrow, I’m sure.”

Iowa jumped to a 21-8 lead, then the Cyclones followed with a 21-8 surge of their own to draw even. The Hawkeyes led 40-36 at halftime, ISU scored the first seven points of the second half, and it was tight the rest of the way. 

IOWA 73, IOWA STATE 70

At Iowa City

IOWA STATE (70): Meredith Burkhall 3-6 2-2 8, Madison Wise 3-10 0-0 8, Bridget Carleton 8-18 4-5 21, Ashley Joens 1-10 0-2 2, Alexa Middleton 8-17 2-4 20, Ines Nezerwa 0-0 0-0 0, Adriana Camber 0-1 0-2 0, Rae Johnson 1-2 0-0 2, Kristin Scott 3-4 1-2 9. Totals 27-68 9-17 70.

IOWA (73): Hannah Stewart 7-12 0-0 14, Megan Gustafson 4-7 5-5 13, Makenzie Meyer 3-8 2-2 8, Alexis Sevillian 2-5 2-2 7, Tania Davis 3-10 0-0 9, Monika Czinano 0-0 0-0 0, Amanda Ollinger 0-4 0-0 0, Kathleen Doyle 7-17 6-6 22. Totals 26-63 15-15 73.

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Halftime: Iowa 40, ISU 36. 3-point goals: ISU 7-29 (Burkhall 0-1, Wise 2-8, Carleton 1-6, Joens 0-6, Middleton 2-4, Camber 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Scott 2-2), Iowa 6-17 (Meyer 0-3, Sevillian 1-3, Davis 3-5, Doyle 2-4). Team fouls: ISU 16, Iowa 15. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: ISU 37 (Scott 8), Iowa 45 (Gustafson 16). Assists: ISU 8 (Middleton 4), Iowa 14 (Meyer 5). Steals: ISU 9 (Carleton 3), Iowa 6 (Davis, Doyle 2). Turnovers: ISU 14, Iowa 15.

Attendance: 6,289.

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

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