Gustafson dominates, leads Iowa past South Dakota in WNIT 2nd round

Matthew Bain
Iowa's Megan Gustafson fights off South Dakota defenders during their WNIT second round game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, March 18, 2017.

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Megan Gustafson, the rebounder, was honored before Iowa's second-round WNIT game against South Dakota. She broke the school's single-season rebound record against Missouri State on Thursday.

But the sophomore from Port Wing, Wis., can put up some points, too. And Gustafson, the scorer, showed up on Saturday.

Big time.

She scored 33 points on 15-for-16 shooting (yes) to go along with 13 rebounds, and Iowa beat the Coyotes 78-73 to advance to the third round of the WNIT next week. It will play South Dakota State or Colorado, who play each other on Sunday. Home court will be determined after that game.

“I don’t know what to even say about Megan anymore,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “Amazing.”

The ever-humble Gustafson added: “My teammates did a really good job of setting me up.”

South Dakota had zero answers for the Hawkeyes in the post and got outscored 36-16 in the paint. When Gustafson sat, Hannah Stewart dominated just as much. She finished with 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting in her 10 minutes.

Iowa needed those two to have the games they did. The rest of the roster shot 9-for-36.

“I’ve told a lot of people this,” Stewart said, “but when you get to go up against Megan Gustafson every day in practice, you’re pretty prepared for the posts that you go up against.”

This looked like a cruise-control win early on for the Hawkeyes. They jumped out to a 21-12 lead in the first quarter, when they shot 50 percent and held USD to 25 percent.

Roles switched in quarter No. 2. Iowa's hot shooting turned cold — 31 percent cold — while USD shot nearly 50 percent and outscored Iowa 22-14 to enter halftime down 35-34. It was back-and-forth from then on until the end of the third, when it was 55-all.

Then Gustafson — who else? — opened the fourth with a bucket inside, USD turned it over and Makenzie Meyer drained a 3-pointer for a quick 60-55 lead.

Iowa was only up 72-70 with a minute left. Makenzie Meyer missed a 3-pointer, but Gustafson — who else? — muscled through three Coyotes to grab the offensive rebound that pretty much sealed the win.

“I was just there at the right time,” she said. “That was kind of a little bit of luck there, but I knew that I had to get it. I was kind of in the mode of, I needed to get every single rebound to get it to my teammates if I couldn’t put it up myself.”

Gustafson then sunk a jumper on the ensuing possession that almost assuredly sealed the win.

And she snared a defensive rebound with 12 seconds left that most definitely sealed the win.

Ally Disterhoft added 10 points, three blocks and a steal. Kathleen Doyle had eight points, three steals and seven assists. She now has 138 assists this season, the most by a freshman in program history.

The previous record-holder? Samantha Logic. She had 136 in the first year of her legendary Hawkeye career.

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