UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Iowa women’s basketball team rebounded Sunday from a tough loss at Michigan two days earlier.
The 13th-ranked Hawkeyes also defended, shot the ball and shared it well as they rolled to an 81-61 Big Ten victory at Penn State.
“The way we played at Michigan, that wasn’t us,’’ senior forward Hannah Stewart said in a Learfield Sports postgame radio interview. “We came out and played more like we want to play. This was a good bounce-back game for us.’’
Iowa delivered that message at the Bryce Jordan Center, opening a 48-31 lead by halftime after outscoring the Nittany Lions 24-9 in the second quarter.
Both teams enjoyed a solid start from the field with the Hawkeyes taking a 24-22 lead after an opening quarter which saw both teams top 52 percent from the field. Iowa limited Penn State to 3-of-16 shooting in the second quarter to break the game open.
“I felt like we put together a good first half,’’ Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “The shots were falling for us early, and I’m proud of the way we responded on the boards.’’
After getting out-rebounded by 44-23 in Friday’s loss to the Wolverines, Iowa handled Penn State 49-34 on the boards to complement its 53.1-percent shooting and its collection of 25 assists on 34 baskets.
Megan Gustafson led Iowa with her 20th double-double of the season, finishing with 30 points and 11 rebounds while Makenzie Meyer totaled a season-high 18 points and Stewart finished with a career-high 14 rebounds.
“I didn’t feel like I boxed out well at all at Michigan and I felt like that was something I had to do in this game,’’ Stewart said. “We all did a better job of rebounding and boxing out. That was something we were totally focused on.’’
Iowa extended its halftime lead to 19 points twice early in the third quarter before Penn State (10-11, 3-7 Big Ten) rallied, pulling as close as 52-44 on a Karisma Ortiz jumper with 6 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the quarter.
A 3-pointer by Meyer followed by a pair of lay-ins by Gustafson allowed the Hawkeyes (17-5, 8-3) to regain a double-digit margin that the Nittany Lions were unable to dent as Iowa limited the Nittany Lions to a pair of field goals and six points in the fourth quarter.
“When they cut it to eight in the third quarter, we responded with good defense after that,’’ Bluder said. “It was a good way to bounce back overall.’’
Teniya Page led Penn State with 17 points.