Iowa Bests Elon 74-61, Goes Undefeated in Puerto Rico Classico

By BraydonRoberts5 on November 26, 2017 at 12:30 pm
Alexis Sevillian led Iowa with 21 points and 5 three pointers
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Megan Gustafson is so good, it’s almost easy to take her production for granted. Each game, you can expect a double-double with solid defense to boot. What makes her performance even more impressive is that she often faces double teams offensively. Saturday, her skills were on full display, as she helped lead Iowa to a 74-61 victory over a solid Elon team.

Iowa jumped out to a 15-8 lead by the end of the first quarter, as they came out playing tough defense and forced a ton of missed shots from Elon. That lead jumped to 33-23 at halftime, before Elon closed to 50-42 to end the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Phoenix pulled within 6 before clutch shooting from Gustafson, Chase Coley, and Alexis Sevillian put the game away. Iowa led by as much as 16 in the final period, before winning 74-61.

Sevillian led Iowa in scoring with a career high 21 points and 5 three pointers. Gustafson had another phenomenal game, scoring 20 and adding 14 rebounds, including 9 on the offensive end. She had a double-double by halftime. Coley was the last Hawkeye in double figures with 13 points, several of which came when Iowa needed them most in the fourth quarter. Full stats from the game are here.

Ra’Shika White led Elon with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Shay Burnett added 13 points, though she was only 3-18 from the field. Burnett had 9 rebounds in the game. Meme Garner was Elon’s other double figures scorer with 12.

Thoughts

Though Elon might not be a household name, they’re a very good program. Last season, they went 27-7, won the Colonial Athletic Association (their conference), and earned a #11 seed in the NCAA Tournament, losing a tough opening game to West Virginia 75-62. Coming into their matchup with Iowa, they were 5-0 this season with a victory over Alabama on Friday.

Coach Lisa Bluder came out with a great game plan. Iowa was off on Friday, while Elon had their aforementioned victory over the Crimson Tide. Elon is also a team that likes to play slow. Instead of letting them slow things down, the Hawkeyes pushed the tempo right out of the gate, both to tire Elon out and to make them uncomfortable. The strategy worked, as Elon shot only 30% from the field and 14% from 3.

If there was one negative to take away from this game, it was rebounding. Iowa was outrebounded for the first time this season (48-47) and also gave up 24 offensive rebounds to the Phoenix. Had the Hawkeyes rebounded better, the game would’ve been over even sooner than it was. Still, rebounding wasn’t all bad, as Iowa had 16 offensive rebounds themselves, and a few resulted in put backs from Gustafson or Coley.

The season is still early, but Alexis Sevillian has emerged as Iowa’s second-best scoring option. I’ve been praising her performances since the opening weekend, but it’s worth noting again how much she adds to Iowa’s offense. She’s not afraid to shoot, and when she’s on, Iowa doesn’t have a better scoring guard.

Next Up

The Hawkeyes return to action at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday (Nov. 29th) at 7pm against #13 Florida State as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The game is a huge opportunity for the Hawkeyes to add a marquee victory to their resume. Iowa already has several good victories thus far, but a win over the 5-0 Seminoles would jump to the top of the list. 

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