An overtime struggle between two struggling teams ended with a 71-68 road win for Iowa women's basketball Thursday.
The Hawkeyes (17-6, 5-5 Big Ten Conference), who came into the game against Michigan State as the losers of four of their last five games, handed the Spartans their fourth loss in a row behind a monster night from junior Megan Gustafson (game-highs 36 points, 17 rebounds).
Kathleen Doyle, the only other Hawkeye with 10-plus points, was also impressive, notching an 11-point, 11-assist double-double. Chase Coley grabbed 10 rebounds and added five points, including two on a jumper with 6.4 seconds left in overtime that gave Iowa a lead it would not relinquish.
Michigan State (14-9, 4-6) was led in scoring and rebounding by Sidney Cooks, who had 16 points and eight boards. She was also the only Sparty starter to shoot better than 40 percent (7 of 13) as Michigan State struggled to a 37.5 percent success rate from the field. Iowa shot 44.8 percent from the floor.
Lisa Bluder's side was buoyed by a dominant night on the glass, out-rebounding Michigan State 52-38, and plenty of whistles — 23 fouls against MSU, 11 against UI — in its favor. But the Hawkeyes failed to capitalize on many Spartan fouls, with an uncharacteristically ugly night from the free-throw line (16-for-27).
After Iowa controlled the first quarter, Michigan State had a strong second period to push the score to 37-36 in Iowa's favor at the end of the first half. The lead would change hands repeatedly in the second half, and Iowa fought back from a consistent four- to five-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime between the two teams for the second season in a row.
Both squads went cold in the extra period after combining for 38 points in the fourth quarter. Neither team scored until there was 2:42 left in overtime. The Hawkeyes went on a 6-1 run from that point on to secure the win.
The Hawkeyes led for nearly all of the first half. Gustafson had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the first two periods, and Doyle was also impressive, with five points and eight assists.
Michigan State cut Iowa's intermission lead to one point thanks to a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Branndais Agee, who had nine points and four steals in the first half. She finished the game with 14 points, eight rebounds and six steals.
MSU struggled from deep as well as from the field, making just 2 of 11 3-point attempts before intermission and 4 of 20 for the game. The Hawkeyes weren't much better, sinking just 3 of their 16 shot attempts from downtown.
Iowa next hosts Minnesota (17-5, 6-3) at 2 p.m. Sunday. The Gophers downed the Hawkeyes back on Jan. 21, 77-72, at Williams Arena.