Last Second Shot Sinks Iowa Women, South Dakota State Wins Hawkeye Challenge Championship 66–64

In a physical battle, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits staved off a furious Iowa Hawkeye rally to take home the 2016 Hawkeye Challenge crown.

Iowa got off to a slow start in the first quarter, plagued by turnovers and a lack of ball movement, managing to score just 11 points in the first frame and falling behind by 13 points at halftime.

“In the first half, I was not happy with our shot selection,” head coach Lisa Bluder said after the game. “I don’t think we made South Dakota State work on defense, and I thought we were taking shots that we just don’t normally take. Again, I think that was a little bit of inexperience, kind of getting rattled.”

In the fourth quarter, Iowa used a variety of defenses to keep the Jackrabbits off balance. The Hawkeyes threw a basic man-to-defense, a 1–3–1 zone, and a triangle-and-two defense at South Dakota State, working hard to create turnovers. The Jackrabbits coughed up the rock six times in the final period, leading to 10 Hawkeye points. As a result, Iowa pulled to within two with twenty seconds to go in the game. A wild possession culminated in an offensive rebound and putback from Megan Gustafson, tying the game at 64 with just five seconds left.

South Dakota State’s Macy Miller had an answer, as she netted her 21st and 22nd points of the game on a 12-foot jumper, sealing the win once Tania Davis’ half-court prayer as time expired went unanswered.

“I just want to congratulate South Dakota State, I thought they played a really good game,” Bluder opened her postgame press conference. “We knew coming in this was going to be our stiffest opponent of the year. Obviously, right from the bat, they took it to us.”

“Just a really good win, it was incredibly tight there down the stretch for both teams,” said South Dakota State head coach Aaron Johnston. “I thought we played very well throughout. We’d like to have a few minutes back in the fourth quarter where we got a little bit out of sync.”

Megan Gustafson starred in defeat, recording team-highs in points (21), rebounds (13), and blocks (3). Gustafson has nifty footwork in the post, and loves to go to her patented up-and-under move for lefty layups. Ally Disterhoft was also aggressive for Iowa, scoring 16 points and snaring 9 rebounds.

Iowa’s young freshman core of Kathleen Doyle, Makenzie Meyer, and Bre Cera were up and down throughout the game. Doyle came into the game off the bench and provided an instant spark, jumping passing lanes and setting up teammates for open shots.

“Obviously, I’d rather come out with the win, but it was a great atmosphere and it was really fun to have the fans be behind us,” Doyle said of her biggest game as a Hawkeye. “It was a really cool experience and we just need to learn from it and go get the W next time.”

The Hawkeyes will need to regroup quickly as they face the #9 UCLA Bruins on Thursday in the Cancun Challenge in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

By Jack Brandsgard — Posted 11/20/16

You can access Iowa Women’s Basketball Pre-and-Post Game Notes, Season Stats, and Head Coach Lisa Bluder’s Press Conference transcripts at: www.HawkeyesMic.com

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