2019 NCAA TOURNAMENT

No. 1 Baylor cuts Iowa's dream short in Elite Eight

Hawkeyes held to 32-percent shooting in 85-53 regional-final loss

GREENSBORO, N.C. — They guard. And they guard hard.

“Nobody likes to be guarded for 40 minutes,” Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey said. “It’s work. It’s hard.”

Top-ranked Baylor was too big, and too good for No. 8 Iowa in Monday’s NCAA women’s basketball regional final. The Lady Bears held the Hawkeyes to 32-percent shooting, built a 47-26 rebounding advantage and overwhelmed the Hawkeyes, 85-53, in front of 4,164 at Greensboro Coliseum.

“They were obviously too much for us today,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said.

Obviously.

The Lady Bears (35-1) advance to the Final Four and will face No. 7 Oregon (33-4) in a national semifinal Friday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

“You look at their numbers and you watch them on film, and you don’t realize they are THAT good until you face them,” Bluder said. “I just wish we could have shown a little more of Iowa basketball.”

Baylor’s Lauren Cox and Kalani Brown — 6-foot-4 and 6-7, respectively — made life difficult for Megan Gustafson inside. Named Associated Press first-team all-American earlier in the day, Gustafson was 9 of 17 from the field and registered 23 points and nine rebounds.

Cox was named the regional MVP. The junior registered 22 points and 11 boards.

“We tried to limit (Gustafson’s) touches,” Cox said. “We knew she would get her points. We couldn’t let two or three of their other players go off.”

The 53 points was a season low for the Hawkeyes, who finished 29-7.

“We didn’t put our best foot forward,” Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle said. “But they really are a great team.”

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A steal and layup by Doyle got the Hawkeyes even at 11-11, but the remainder of the contest belonged to the Lady Bears.

DiDi Richards scored the next two baskets, and Baylor owned a 21-13 lead by the end of the first quarter. It was 41-27 at halftime, and the margin continued to grow after intermission.

The defensive effort was typical for the Lady Bears, who came into the game allowing opponents to shoot 31.4 percent from the floor.

“They threw extra people at me, and they had a size advantage,” said Gustafson, who became the fourth Division-I women’s player to score 1,000 points in a season (she finished with 1,001).

Richards added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Bears. Brown and Chloe Jackson scored 14 apiece.

Iowa was making its first appearance in the Elite Eight since 1993, when the Hawkeyes reached the Final Four under C. Vivian Stringer. Like it was at Notre Dame in November, it was clear there’s still a step or two to climb for the Hawkeyes to reach the game’s upper crust.

“We knew coming in that they were really good,” Iowa’s Hannah Stewart said. “It’s wasn’t a shock, it wasn’t a surprise. We got on our heels a little, got down a lot, and it’s hard to come back when you’re playing the No. 1 team in the nation.”

Doyle and Tania Davis added 10 points apiece for Iowa. Davis became the 36th player in school history to reach 1,000 points for a career. She finished with 1,007.

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Monday’s outcome was a rough ending to a joyous season for the Hawkeyes. The 29 wins matched a school record.

“I’m going to remember cutting down the nets after the Big Ten tournament,” Bluder said.

Her voice cracked.

“I’ll remember the great relationships, the great memories with these kids. I’m very, very fortunate, very blessed to have coached them.”

BAYLOR 85, IOWA 53

NCAA Regional Final, at Greensboro, Fla.

IOWA (53): Hannah Stewart 3-10 2-2 8, Megan Gustafson 9-17 5-10 23, Makenzie Meyer 0-5 2-2 2, Tania Davis 3-11 3-4 10, Kathleen Doyle 3-11 2-2 10, Amanda Ollinger 0-1 0-0 0, Monika Czinano 0-0 0-0 0, Alexis Sevillian 0-1 0-0 0, Zion Sanders 0-0 0-0 0, Tomi Taiwo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-56 14-20 53.

BAYLOR (85): Lauren Cox 10-16 2-3 22, Kalani Brown 6-11 2-3 14, DiDi Richards 7-10 2-3 16, Juicy Landrum 2-9 0-0 5, Chloe Jackson 7-16 0-0 14, Moon Ursin 2-4 0-0 4, Nalyssa Smith 3-4 0-0 6, Queen Egbo 0-0 0-0 0, Trinity Oliver 0-0 0-0 0, Honesty Scott-Grayson 0-0 4-4 4, Aquira DeCosta 0-0 0-0 0, Caitlin Bickle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-70 10-13 85.

Halftime: Baylor 41, Iowa 27. 3-point goals: Iowa 3-10 (Meyer 0-2, Davis 1-3, Doyle 2-4, Sevillian 0-1), Baylor 1-8 (Cox 0-2, Landrum 1-4, Jackson 0-1, Ursin 0-1). Team fouls: Iowa 14, Baylor 16. Fouled out: Doyle. Rebounds: Iowa 26 (Gustafson 9), Baylor 47 (Cox 11). Assists: Iowa 12 (Doyle 6), Baylor 16 (Richards 6). Steals: Iowa 11 (Stewart, Doyle 4), Baylor 12 (Richards 6). Turnovers: Iowa 16, Baylor 17.

Attendance: 4,164.

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

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