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A blend of youth and experience led Iowa to a crucial overtime win against Michigan State Thursday.

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IOWA CITY, Ia. — The Iowa Hawkeyes played a team from Michigan for the second consecutive game, hosting the Spartans on Thursday after traveling to play the Wolverines last Sunday.

They carried a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter in Ann Arbor. They got outscored, 20-9, in that final frame. They lost Tania Davis to an ACL tear and lost the game, 72-70.

Heartbreak.

On Thursday, they carried a six-point lead into the fourth quarter. They got outscored, 25-19, in the final frame to send it to overtime.

But in this game, they outscored Michigan State, 18-14, in the extra period. Bre Cera and Ally Disterhoft hit clutch 3-pointers. Makenzie Meyer and Megan Gustafson drained their eight free throws. Kathleen Doyle broke the Spartans full-court presses. And, on Thursday, the Hawkeyes won, 87-83.

Elation.

“Very thankful for this win,” Iowa’s Lisa Bluder said. “Very thankful for how hard the women played, and how hard they focused and came through in these two practices to prepare for this game. We knew how important this game was. Starting three freshmen, one sophomore, one senior out there. They were amazing.

“Just really proud of the way a young team responded in this pressure situation.”

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She wasn’t always that happy.

A livid Bluder called a timeout with 6 minutes, 16 seconds on the clock in the first quarter. Up to that point, Michigan State had 13 points … and the Hawkeyes had one. They’d also recorded as many turnovers as shots attempted (a whopping three).

Iowa outplayed Michigan State after that timeout. And, barring the end of the fourth quarter, the Hawkeyes — the young, rapidly growing Hawkeyes — looked like the better team.

“I think it was just really nice to be able to close out this game like we did,” Disterhoft said. “We probably could’ve had that ‘W’ at the end of regulation, but Tori stepped up and hit some huge shots. For a really, really young team to band together and finish that overtime like we did, I thought, was really impressive. So sigh of relief, yes, but also excited and really happy with this win.”

In her first start at point guard, Doyle finished with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists. Disterhoft, who at times this season has settled for long-range jumpers, drove early and often, draining 8 of 12 free-throw attempts en route to a team-high 25 points and 12 rebounds.

Gustafson added 18 points and 10 boards. Meyer scored a career-high 14 and Chase Coley had 10 off the bench.

Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at mbain@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

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