INDIANAPOLIS — Megan Gustafson draws a lot of attention. And a lot of contact.
“It’s pretty normal, something that I’ve gone against throughout this entire Big Ten season the past couple years,” she said.
“I have a big target on my back.”
But nobody’s been able to stop her. Or even contain her.
The final numbers Friday were 30 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks as 10th-ranked Iowa fought past Indiana, 70-61, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They’re numbers you’ve come to expect.
“You think about those points that don’t come from the free-throw line, that’s a pretty good night defensively on her,” Indiana Coach Teri Moren said. “She’s a challenge. We tried to dig as much as we could just to create some activity every time she caught it.”
The Big Ten player of the year, Gustafson made 11 of 19 shots from the field, 8 of 9 from the free-throw line. She drew nine fouls from the Hoosiers.
She had help in the paint as Iowa (24-6) advanced to face Rutgers (21-8) in a Saturday semifinal.
Hannah Stewart added nine points and 13 rebounds, and freshman Monika Czinano made the most of her five minutes while Gustafson rested, making both of her shots.
“It’s not just me down there,” Gustafson said. “We’ve got some very good post players on our team, and we battle against each other every single day in practice. We make each other better.
“I’m not the player I am without those two for sure.”
Stewart said, “I took what was there, and that worked well for us.”
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When the paint was clogged, it left the perimeter open. Makenzie Meyer was 4 of 9 from 3-point range. And Tania Davis hit a big trey after Indiana had taken a 54-53 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
“Once I saw that 3 go down at the end of the first quarter, it kind of took a lid off the rim for me,” Meyer said.
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