IOWA CITY — Megan Gustafson collected a career-high 37 points Saturday, but it wasn’t enough for the 18th-rated Iowa women’s basketball team.
Purdue overcame the most productive game of Gustafson’s career with a dominating defensive effort that helped the Boilermakers to a 76-70 win in front of a crowd of 7,477 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Starting guards Alexis Sevillian and Kathleen Doyle were a combined 5-of-28 from the field, including a 2-of-15 game from 3-point range that proved problematic after Purdue pushed ahead to stay four minutes into the third quarter.
"Megan played great, but she can’t do it alone," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "There were times when it looked like our other players were waiting around, wanting to let her do it all. It can’t work that way."
Purdue’s hope was to limit Gustafson’s touches, but after watching her hit 17-of-23 shots, Boilermakers coach Sharon Versyp conceded that was one of few things her team didn’t accomplish while earning its first win at Iowa since 2008.
"She got everything she wanted down low, but we didn’t give up anything outside, and that gave us a chance," Versyp said.
Bluder was generally fine with the shots Iowa was getting on the perimeter but conceded Iowa needed to hit a few more, particularly down the stretch.
The Hawkeyes, down 67-60 with just over 4 minutes left after Andreona Keys and Dominique Oden knocked down 3-point baskets, used a basket and a free throw by Gustafson to pull within 67-65 on a turnaround jumper by Chase Coley with 2:36 remaining.
Two turnovers and two missed 3-point attempts by Sevillian during the stretch denied Iowa a chance to cut deeper into the Purdue lead.
"Our thoughts then are always on the next play, next play, but our focus wasn’t always there on defense," Coley said. "We had a few lapses in communication, a few lapses on the court, and those proved costly."
The empty possessions also positioned the Boilermakers to open a 69-65 lead on a drive by Keys with 1:10 to go that preceded a string of seven free throws in eight attempts over the next minute that ended any Hawkeye comeback hopes.
Keys found room to drive throughout the game, using dribble penetration to attack the basket for 34 points, 21 more than she averaged entering the game.
Although she entered the game with just seven 3-point baskets on the year, Keys knocked down four of the five she attempted, one more than Iowa (15-3, 3-2 Big Ten) made as a team.
"They played a lot of triangle, and two and the rest of us were open," Keys said. "I was able to get in a flow."
Bluder said defensive lapses as Purdue (12-7, 3-2) outscored Iowa 46-33 in the second and third quarters proved costly.
"We scored enough points to win. Defensively, we just didn’t get it done," Bluder said. "Keys, we didn’t have an answer for her."
Gustasfson finished with her 17th double-double of the season, grabbing 14 rebounds to go along with a 37-point performance, which was two points better than her previous career best of 35 set against Western Kentucky in the second game of the season.
Coley was the only other Hawkeye to score in double figures, collecting 10 points.
In the midst of a stretch of schedule that includes four-of-five games on the road, Iowa visits Nebraska and Minnesota during the upcoming week before returning home to host 10th-rated Ohio State on Jan. 25.