In desperate need of a bounce-back performance, Iowa delivered on the road.
The No. 12 Hawkeyes used a strong fourth quarter to put away Nebraska, 74-58, Monday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Iowa (22-6, 13-4 Big Ten Conference) did what it couldn’t do in Thursday’s stunning loss at Indiana.
Megan Gustafson did her usual thing. She poured in 29 points and a career-high 20 rebounds, racking up a double-double in the first half. Hannah Stewart added 15, and Tania Davis had 14.
After a slow start, Iowa jumped ahead in this road challenge with a strong second quarter. That led to a 35-26 halftime advantage, but the Hawkeyes didn’t have things fully wrapped up until late in the fourth quarter. Iowa had a 22-11 edge in the final period.
It wasn't a great night from deep, but advantages were found with assists and rebounds. Iowa also held Nebraska leading scorer Hannah Whitish to 3-for-12 shooting.
"We really put an emphasis on defense and having that intensity from beginning to end," Gustafson said on the BTN postgame broadcast. "And I thought we really executed on that today."
The Hawkeyes didn’t let one poor performance turn into two, but their Big Ten title hopes took another significant hit Monday. Maryland knocked off Purdue to remain one game up on Iowa for first place in the conference standings. Iowa needs to beat Northwestern Sunday and hope cellar-dweller Illinois upsets the Terrapins Saturday.
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 email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.