IOWA CITY — Thriving from three, Makenzie Meyer is taking what she gets to help eighth-ranked Iowa play on in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
After missing the only two shots she attempted from 3-point range in the Hawkeyes’ regular-season finale against Northwestern, Meyer has provided the Hawkeyes with a postseason spark.
The junior from Mason City knocked down four shots from behind the arc as part of an 18-point performance Sunday in Iowa’s 68-52 victory over Missouri.
Her work in the second-round win in NCAA play included baskets which started and ended the Hawkeyes’ 12-0 run during the second quarter and a jumper which broke a 39-39 tie with 5 minutes, 8 seconds left in the third quarter and moved Iowa in front to stay.
The latter opened a 19-2 spree by the Hawkeyes that included the last of Meyer’s 3-pointers against the Tigers, one which extended the lead to 52-41 with 7:42 to play in the win which advanced Iowa to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2015.
“I’m feeling really confident in my shot right now and my teammates are doing a great job of setting me up,’’ Meyer said. “They’re getting the ball to me in good spots and I’m just letting it fly.’’
Meyer has soared since going scoreless from the field in the March 3 game against Northwestern.
In the five games Iowa has played since — three in the Big Ten Championships and through two rounds of NCAA play — she has been knocking down 3-point baskets at a 51.4-percent clip.
Meyer has connected on 18-of-35 attempts from behind the arc in the postseason, helping provide an outside complement to the steady inside play of seniors Megan Gustafson and Hannah Stewart.
“When we’re putting down threes, it makes life easier for Megan and Hannah inside,’’ Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “You have to respect those guys and all of a sudden you can’t double as hard as you could, you can’t cheat as much, so it does open the middle up a bit.’’
Meyer last scored 18 points during a Feb. 3 game at Penn State, knocking down three 3-pointers in 27 minutes of action before exiting with a knee injury which forced her to miss Iowa’s next three games.
She returned in a reserve role on Feb. 14 against Illinois, but totaled 34 points the Hawkeyes’ next five games before scoring 12 in Iowa’s Big Ten tourney opener against Indiana.
She has reached double digits in three of the Hawkeyes’ four games since, including a 16-point game Friday against Mercer which preceded Sunday’s 6-of-9 effort from the field against Missouri that included a 4-of-7 touch from 3-point range.
“I think it’s just about feeling good with my shot and feeling some confidence,’’ Meyer said. “When the shots are dropping like they have been, you keep looking for them. Everything is feeling good right now.’’
Bluder isn’t sure what is making the difference in Meyer’s game, but she doesn’t want it to change.
“She had a significant knee injury and came back a little early from that, but with a little more time, I think she’s feeling great and we like that,’’ Bluder said.