IOWA CITY – It took a full order of “Beef” and a side of belief for the short-handed Iowa women’s basketball team to savor its first win of the season over a rated opponent.
The 23rd-rated Hawkeyes used a 12-3 run late in the fourth quarter to hold off 21st-ranked Michigan 82-72 on Sunday in front of a crowd of 6,928 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“To beat a team ranked ahead of us, a team that beat us last year, and to do it with the injuries we have and prove to ourselves we can do it, that’s so important,’’ coach Lisa Bluder said. “This is a big win for us.’’
Playing at home for the first time without injured starting guards Tania Davis and Makenzie Meyer, Megan Gustafson recorded her 14th double-double and Kathleen Doyle dished out nine assists in the win.
The pair also combined for 50 points, but it took nine-point efforts from both Carly Mohns and Chase Coley to push the Hawkeyes past the Wolverines.
Mohns, whose childhood nickname “Beef’’ has stuck with her college teammates, knocked down all four shots she attempted and grabbed six rebounds in the win.
“I’m so happy for ‘Beef,’ she’s been through a lot, surgeries, and everything. She gave us what we needed,’’ Bluder said.
Mohns’ biggest shot came from three-point range with 3 minutes, 39 seconds left in the third quarter, moving Iowa ahead to stay at 46-43 and fueling an 11-2 run which answered an 8-2 run by the Wolverines to open the quarter and erase the Hawkeyes’ 34-30 halftime lead.
“I was open and the shot was there, so I took it,’’ said Mohns, referencing her first three-point attempt of the season. “We all need to step up and do what we can to help out.’’
Coley, scoring all nine of her points in the second half, helped Iowa answer after Michigan pulled within 64-62.
Her jumper with 3:13 remaining sparked a 12-3 run that included the final baskets of the game by Gustafson, who finished with 27 points to go with 11 rebounds, and Doyle, who totaled 23.
“Chase came up big for us in the second half,’’ Bluder said. “She loves that 15-foot jumper and people keep giving it to her so we want her to keep taking it. To come up with nine points and have four blocks, she came through for us.’’
Coley’s basket to extend the lead to four came off of a feed by Doyle and preceded back-to-back baskets by Doyle, the first following a steal by Mohns and the second after one of Gustafson’s six blocks in the game.
Gustafson extended the Iowa lead to 72-62 with 1:21 remaining with a lay-up that allowed the Hawkeyes (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten) to finish off the win with a 10-of-10 effort at the free-throw line over the final minute.
That included four free throws by Gustafson, who connected on all 11 of her attempts in the game.
“This was a game where we had to keep working,’’ said Gustafson, who leads the nation with her 14 double-doubles through 15 games this season.
Katelynn Flaherty led the Wolverines (12-3, 1-1) with 24 points, but Michigan’s career scoring leader hit just 4-of-12 shots from three-point range after hitting a school-record 10 in a win Thursday over Penn State.
“I am tired, but we knew that we had to bring a lot of energy on defense and just keep after it,’’ said Doyle, who played 39 minutes. “We had to play our game, play strong and because we did that, we had a chance to win.’’
Iowa plays four of its next five games on the road, beginning with a 5 p.m. game Thursday at 15th-rated Maryland.