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Tania Davis: 'This presents a big opportunity for us ' facing No. 1 Notre Dame Dargan Southard, msouthard@gannett.com

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Too much Irish firepower.

The No. 15 Hawkeyes hung around for a half with top-ranked Notre Dame, but the defending national champions hit the gas in the second half for a blowout win. Iowa suffered a 105-71 road loss Thursday night at Purcell Pavilion.

The Hawkeyes (4-2) entered with confidence, but a daunting task proved to be exactly that. A 45-34 halftime deficit quickly ballooned to a 22-point hole as Notre Dame opened the third quarter on an 11-0 run. The Fighting Irish didn’t let up from there, owning a 31-point lead as the final period began.

Megan Gustafson poured in a team-high 26 points and Iowa got double-figure efforts from Tania Davis (15), Hannah Stewart (12) and Makenzie Meyer (10). But Notre Dame engulfed Gustafson on almost every possession early and the Hawkeyes couldn’t make it count from deep.

Iowa finished 5-for-25 from beyond the arc.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, got plenty of contributions from the usual suspects. Arike Ogunbowale went for 30 on 13-for-21 shooting. The Irish picked up significant scoring from Jackie Young (15), Marina Mabrey (18), Brianna Turner (14) and Jessica Shepard (10).

Iowa should be fine the rest of the way, but Thursday’s blowout further illustrates the defined hierarchy in women’s basketball. The Hawkeyes found out the hard way.

Iowa returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena Sunday against Robert Morris. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.          

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.       

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