In the first quarter of a game against Nebraska on Monday, Iowa center Megan Gustafson scored six points, which is a pretty good job by the Huskers, really, considering she’s the best scorer in college basketball this season at 27 points per game.
And in the third quarter, she only scored two points, when Nebraska made it tougher for Gustafson to get the ball, and she missed two of her three attempts.
Nebraska did a good job on Gustafson at times, but she still dominated in stretches, including a 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter after Nebraska was within five points.
Gustafson scored 29 points, and had an equally impressive 20 rebounds, to lead the 12th-ranked Hawkeyes to a 74-58 victory at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
That was a career-high in rebounds for Gustafson, and one more than her previous best.
“When you think she did something she’s never done before in this time of her career, it’s hard to imagine 29 points, 20 rebounds,” said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder. “She’s so strong going to the glass. If it gets near her, she’s pulling it in. For us to come in here and get a good road win, this is a good, good road win.”
Iowa (22-6, 13-4 Big Ten) won for the 11th time in the last 13 games.
Gustafson got her 29 points on 13-of-19 shooting from the field, and was 3-for-3 on free throws.
It was her 26th double-double of the season and the 81st of her career. She’s led Iowa in scoring in 26 of 28 games.
In one stretch of the second quarter, Gustafson went on a 7-0 run all by herself in just one minute. Gustafson already had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. She made eight of her first 10 field-goal attempts of the game.
Nebraska would be defending Gustafson pretty well, but she can take advantage with any little letdown because she’s able to get to the basket and get off shots quickly without much time or space.
“I think as soon as you stop moving your feet (Gustafson is) always moving her feet so as soon as you get a little fatigued and lose focus for a second about how you need to be working and dancing she’s going to make you pay for that,” said Nebraska coach Amy Williams.
“Lots of teams have tried, and very few have been able to find ways to slow her down.”
Nebraska tied the game at 43 late in the third quarter, and only trailed by five to start the fourth quarter.
But then Gustafson went off again, scoring six straight points in about 2 ½ minutes, both by scoring at the basket and hitting jump shots. Then she hit another jumper to put Iowa back up 10 points. Iowa outscored Nebraska 22-11 in the fourth quarter.
Sam Haiby led the Huskers with 12 points, and Kate Cain and Ashtyn Veerbeek added 10 points apiece. Maddie Simon added six points and led the Huskers with seven rebounds.
Simon was the only senior honored after the game on senior night. Williams said Simon has handled a lot of changes during her college career with class, including a new head coach, a new position, and being in and out of the starting lineup.
Simon had a good game in Nebraska’s last game, making all six field goals and scoring 15 points against Northwestern. Williams called Simon and told her she planned on putting her back in the starting lineup on senior night. But Simon said she didn’t want to mess with what the Huskers had going with a two game winning streak.
“She said coach, ‘I think right now we have a good thing going and our team is playing really well and I’m playing well off the bench,’” Williams said.
Iowa was led in scoring by its three senior starters. Hannah Stewart added 15 points and Tania Davis had 14.