Iowa Women's Basketball

Tricky road trip awaits No. 17 Iowa women's basketball

Western Kentucky forced the Hawkeyes to OT last year

Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (10) grabs a rebound under pressure from Oral Roberts’ Montserrat Brotons (24) during the Hawkeyes’ 90-77 win Friday. The 17th-ranked Hawkeyes are at Western Kentucky on Tuesday. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (10) grabs a rebound under pressure from Oral Roberts’ Montserrat Brotons (24) during the Hawkeyes’ 90-77 win Friday. The 17th-ranked Hawkeyes are at Western Kentucky on Tuesday. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Last year, it took 104 points — and overtime — for the Iowa women’s basketball team to get past Western Kentucky.

It might be the same story Tuesday.

Points will be scored, many of them, when the 17th-ranked Hawkeyes and Lady Toppers reconvene, this time at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky. And the host team, despite an 0-2 start, won’t be a pushover.

“This time, it’s at their place, and they have an incredible winning tradition on their court,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said Monday. “We know it’s going to be a big challenge.”

The Hawkeyes trailed WKU by five points with a minute left in regulation last year in the championship game of the Hawkeye Chellenge. But Makenzie Meyer hit a big 3-pointer, Megan Gustafson added a pair of free throws to tie it and Iowa ultimately ruled the overtime in a 104-97 victory.

Western Kentucky has started with losses at home against Louisville (102-80) and at Oklahoma (90-83).

“0-2 is deceiving, obviously, with who they have played,” Bluder said. “It seems, about every year, they’re in the NCAA tournament.

“They’re a very good transition team, as are we.”

Iowa (1-0) opened with a 90-77 win over Oral Roberts. The Hawkeyes led by 26 points at halftime, then surrendered 54 in the second half.

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“There are a lot of things I like so far ... we’re scoring and rebounding well,” Bluder said. “But our defense has to be more consistent. It’s an area for us to focus on.”

After winning Big Ten Player of the Week honors nine times last season, Gustafson already has one such award this year, posting 23 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and four blocks against Oral Roberts.

The senior post has climbed to No. 5 on the Iowa all-time scoring chart with 1,826 points, needing 15 to catch Jaime Printy. And she is four rebounds shy of 1,000 for her career.

Hannah Stewart scored a career-high 19 points against Oral Roberts. Alexis Sevillian added 18, Meyer 13.

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

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