A month and a half ago, Iowa defeated Wisconsin 56-46 in a game that was closer than it should’ve been. At the time, Iowa had just suffered injuries to Tania Davis and Makenzie Meyer, however, and they were also playing just after a short Christmas break. Sunday’s game wasn’t nearly as close. The Hawkeyes used strong efforts on both ends of the floor to easily dispatch with Wisconsin 88 to 61.
Megan Gustafson led Iowa with 25 points and 8 rebounds. She is now only a couple points and rebounds away from claiming Iowa’s single season record for both. Alexis Sevillian also had a big day, scoring 19 points, including going 5-8 from 3-point range. Hopefully this is the start of a hot streak from Sevillian. She scored like this often in the non-conference, but has struggled with her shooting for much of the Big Ten season. Kathleen Doyle and Hannah Stewart each added 10 points for the Hawkeyes.
Cayla McMorris led Wisconsin with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Marsha Howard added 12 points on 5-8 shooting. Suzanne Gilreath came of the bench to score 13 points. Full game stats are here.
Iowa ended the day with 17 turnovers, but this is one time that stats can lie. Many of the team’s turnovers took place in the fourth quarter when Iowa’s backups were in and the game was out of reach. For the most part, Iowa did a good job of taking care of the ball today. If they can do that in the future, they’ll be tough to beat.
Iowa played good defense today, but they were also active in the passing lanes, as they registered 12 steals. The steals helped them jump out to a big lead early. Iowa usually isn’t a team that forces a lot of turnovers, but improving that could help them get easy looks that make them even more efficient offensively.
There really wasn’t much that was bad today. Iowa played a bad Wisconsin team and took care of business.
With this victory, Iowa has likely secured a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Even if they were to lose out, losses to Rutgers (an NCAA Tournament team), Indiana (a winning record in the Big Ten), and to whoever they might face in the Big Ten Tournament probably wouldn’t be enough to knock them out of an at-large bid. That said, three loses in a row would knock down their tournament seeding.
Big Ten Standings
With one week of regular season games remaining, the top of the Big Ten Standings looked like this:
Ohio State 11-3
If Iowa wins out, they have a chance to finish in the Top 4 of the Big Ten. A couple losses, and they could fall as far as 9th. For tiebreaker purposes for Big Ten Tournament seeding, Iowa would lose to Nebraska and Purdue based on head to head losses and would prevail over Michigan. They split the season series with Minnesota, so a second tiebreaker category would be needed if they finished with the same record.
Iowa returns to action on Wednesday, February 21st at 6 PM at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are 19-9 on the year and 7-7 in the Big Ten. They are currently projected to make the NCAA Tournament.