IOWA CITY, Ia. — Wedged between two tough in-state matchups was a welcomed tune-up for Iowa women’s basketball. The Hawkeyes had Saturday’s showdown in hand shortly after the opening tip.
Iowa rolled over North Carolina Central, 102-50, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, throttling the Eagles for a second straight year. After Wednesday’s emotional Cy-Hawk win, the Hawkeyes needed a breather. They’ll have a week off now until Drake comes to town on Dec. 21.
“I’m really pleased with the way the team performed, sandwiched between two in-state rivalry games and with finals coming up this week,” said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder, whose Hawkeyes set the single-game school record for shooting percentage (69.8 percent).
“It’s easy to lose focus, and we didn’t. We kept the hammer down.”
Iowa (8-2) had a double-digit cushion built before the first quarter ended. Six different Hawkeyes scored in the opening period, and Iowa was off. A 37-point intermission lead ballooned to as many as 55 in the second half.
The Hawkeyes hit 20 of their first 25 shots, including an 11-for-15 start from deep. Iowa got double-digit scoring efforts from Makenzie Meyer (19 points), Kathleen Doyle (13), Monika Czinano (12) and Gabbie Marshall (11).
Doyle also matched NC Central with nine assists, moving into second place for most career assists in Iowa history.
”It’s fun setting my teammates up,” Doyle said
This was a bench-emptying affair. Starters watched most of the fourth quarter from the bench with wide smiles abound. The likes of Logan Cook, Megan Meyer, Zion Sanders and Paula Valiño Ramos closed out this convincing win. NC Central (1-9) was more than outmatched on this day.
The win is Iowa’s sixth in its last seven games after taking a Northern Iowa shellacking on Nov. 17. The Hawkeyes are in good position to close out their nonconference portion strong before diving into Big Ten play. Next Saturday’s matchup versus Drake comes in prime-time with a chance for Iowa to land another quality win ahead of another long break.
The Hawkeyes had to handle NC Central first, doing so without any drama. That’s the most productive development from an afternoon on cruise control.
“When you’re sharing the ball and knocking down shots,” Makenzie Meyer said, “it’s a lot of fun.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.