Iowa Women's Basketball

McKenna Warnock's late heroics make a big day even bigger for Iowa women's basketball

No. 19 Iowa fights past Michigan State 74-57, then Megan Gustafson's number goes to the Carver rafters

IOWA CITY — A special day was trending toward bittersweet.

Monika Czinano got injured, and the Iowa Hawkeyes were grinding gears offensively.

McKenna Warnock to the rescue.

A freshman, Warnock scored 15 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, and 19th-ranked Iowa rallied to defeat Michigan State, 74-57, in a Big Ten women’s basketball game before a near-sellout crowd of 13,420 Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The crowd count was the fourth-largest in program history. They came to see the Hawkeyes, and to see the jersey retirement of Megan Gustafson.

On both counts, they left satisfied.

“We had to win for Megan, right?” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “We didn’t want to be the spoilers.”

Iowa (17-3, 8-1 Big Ten) ran its home winning streak to 32 and moved into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten, one game ahead of Northwestern and Maryland.

“I’m so proud of them,” Gustafson said in a brief solo news conference after the game. “It was great seeing them fight, fight so hard. They’re shattering everybody’s expectations.”

Like all of their wins lately, this one didn’t come easily for the Hawkeyes, though the final score indicated otherwise. Michigan State (11-9, 4-5) held a 48-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter, and it was obvious that Iowa would be without Czinano, who was wearing a boot on her right foot.

Czinano was injured driving for a basket with 6:56 left in the third quarter.

“Nothing appears to be broken, from the initial X-ray,” Bluder said. “It’s a severe ankle sprain, at minimum.”

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A steal and layup by Doyle tied the game at 48-48, then Makenzie Meyer’s spin move knotted it at 50-50.

The final 5 1/2 minutes belonged to Warnock, last year’s Miss Wisconsin Basketball.

Her basket and free throw gave the Hawkeyes a 53-50 lead, then she nailed a pair of free throws and converted another drive for a 57-53 advantage.

“She was a stud,” Kathleen Doyle said. “She was driving. I told her to kept going, because they couldn’t guard her.”

Warnock wasn’t done. Her 3-pointer with 2:35 left made it 62-55, then it was another three-point play for a 10-point cushion, and the Hawkeyes were home free.

“I had some open looks,” Warnock said. “My teammates trusted me, and I had a couple of plays called for me. They told me to take it at them.”

The final count was 28-9 in the fourth quarter.

“We wore them out,” Bluder said. “Michigan State was physical, they took us out of our game for a while. But McKenna played a marvelous game.”

Despite a 7-of-21 shooting performance, Doyle added 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and seven steals. Makenzie Meyer scored 13 points, Amanda Ollinger 10.

Then it was on to the Gustafson ceremony, an emotional one.

“To come back was pretty surreal,” she said. “The crowd kept the energy today. Obviously I cried a lot today. This university, these girls, these coaches, they shaped me into the person I’ve become.”

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The Hawkeyes play their next two games on the road, at Penn State (Thursday) and at Michigan (Sunday). They return home Feb. 6 against Nebraska.

IOWA 74, MICHIGAN STATE 57

At Iowa City

MICHIGAN STATE (57): Nia Hollie 4-8 1-2 9, Kayla Belles 1-6 0-2 2, Taryn McCutcheon 5-10 1-2 12, Moira Joiner 2-9 0-0 5, Nia Clouden 3-10 3-4 10, Tory Ozment 2-5 0-0 5, Mardrekia Cook 3-5 0-0 6, Julie Ayrault 1-6 0-0 2, Taiyier Parks 3-6 0-0 6, Alyza Winston 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-65 5-10 57.

IOWA (74): Amanda Ollinger 4-6 2-6 10, Monika Czinano 2-4 0-0 4, Makenzie Meyer 4-6 4-4 13, Alexis Sevillian 0-4 3-4 3, Kathleen Doyle 7-21 6-7 20, McKenna Warnock 8-11 4-5 22, Gabbie Marshall 1-2 0-0 2, Tomi Taiwo 0-1 0-0 0, Kate Martin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-55 19-26 74.

Halftime: Iowa 33, Michigan State 31. 3-point goals: Michigan State 4-21 (Hollie 0-1, McCutcheon 1-5, Joiner 1-5, Clouden 1-3, Ozment 1-4, Cook 0-1, Ayrault 0-2), Iowa 3-13 (Meyer 1-3, Sevillian 0-2, Doyle 0-5, Warnock 2-3). Team fouls: Michigan State 25, Iowa 14. Fouled out: Hollie, Belles. Rebounds: Michigan State 37 (Belles 7), Iowa 39 (Warnock 10). Assists: Michigan State 11 (McCutcheon 5), Iowa 14 (Doyle 5). Steals: Michigan State 8 (Parks 2), Iowa 9 (Doyle 7). Turnovers: Michigan State 17, Iowa 18.

Attendance: 13,420.

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

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