Hawkeyes Bow Out Against Baylor in Elite Eight

April 1, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

One of the most successful seasons in Iowa history ended Monday night in Greensboro, N.C. Top-ranked and No. 1-seeded Baylor proved too much for the Hawkeyes, winning 85-53 in the Elite Eight.

Second-seeded and eighth ranked Iowa (29-7) tied the school record for wins in a season. It reached the Elite Eight for the first time since 1993 and just the third time in program history.

“Baylor was just obviously too much for us today. I told the team that I’m not going to define our season by the last 40 minutes,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “I don’t think we played our best game. Did Baylor have something to do with it? Absolutely. But I just wish that we could have shown a little bit more of Iowa Basketball.”

Hawkeye all-American Megan Gustafson wrapped up her college career with 23 points and nine rebounds. She ended up with 1,001 points this year, just the fourth player ever to score 1,000 or more in a campaign at this level.

Baylor (35-1) led by eight points after one quarter and 14 at halftime. It then pulled away with a 24-point third that put it up by 23 heading into the fourth.

The Bears’ length bothered Iowa. It stretched beyond their tall post players, Kalani Brown (14 points, 7 rebounds) and Lauren Cox (22, 11). It bothered the Hawkeye guards, who missed layups and struggled in finding room to shoot from the outside.

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After shooting better than 50 percent from the floor in their first three NCAA Tournament wins, they shot 18 of 56 (32.1 percent) on Monday. They also connected on just 3 of 10 tries behind the three-point arc.

Iowa guard Tania Davis and Kathleen Doyle each scored 10 points, but they were a combined 6 of 22 on field goals. Iowa’s other starters, Hannah Stewart and Makenzie Meyer, were 3 of 15.

“There were several of those where we just had the long droughts. You know, I thought that Megan did her part; I said coming into this game that we needed everybody to contribute, and unfortunately we didn’t get a lot of contribution from other people,” Bluder said.

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The Bears connected on 37 of 70 (52.9 percent) shots from the field. They dominated the boards, 47-26.

Senior Gustafson, Davis and Stewart played their last games as Hawkeyes. They left the program in great shape.

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“I feel like our legacy just completely different, but at the same time I feel like we’re all just great people. We’re great individuals off the court and I feel like that’s the legacy we’d rather leave, as opposed to, you know, the players that we have,” Davis said.

Gustafson broke down in the postgame press conference. The words she got out reflected her class.

“God has just blessed me with an amazing ability to play basketball, and I’m just so, so pleased and thankful that the University of Iowa chose me and I chose to play for them,” she said.

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