IOWA CITY – When it mattered most, Kathleen Doyle and Makenzie Meyer delivered Sunday for the Iowa women’s basketball team.
The senior guards scored 13 of the Hawkeyes’ 14 points in the second overtime period of a 91-85 victory over 12th-ranked Indiana, Iowa’s second win over a top-20 opponent in four days at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and one which moved the Hawkeyes in a share of the Big Ten lead.
“This was an important win over for us, for now, for March and for the Big Ten standings,’’ Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said after the Hawkeyes survived to extend their homecourt win streak to 30 games.
Iowa forced both of the overtime sessions, overcoming deficits of 14 points in the first half, 10 points in the third quarter and six points in the final 3 minutes, 18 seconds of regulation.
“We just kept battling, kept the faith,’’ Bluder said.
The Hawkeyes didn’t finish off their win over an Indiana team which took the court as the only remaining unbeaten team in Big Ten play until Doyle finished off a 31-point performance, just missing a triple double with 10 assists and nine rebounds.
Doyle scored the final points in regulation and in the first overtime to extend game.
She was fouled as she scored on a drive with 4.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but missed the free throw to leave the game tied at 74-74.
“It was disappointing to leave that one out there, but all you can do about it is pick yourself up and get ready to go play that next five minutes,’’ Doyle said.
Iowa didn’t score a field goal in the first overtime, using two free throws by Monika Czinano with 3:33 to go before Doyle hit the first of two foul shots with 2:50 left to tie the game at 77-77.
Doyle missed a pair of looks at the rim in the final seconds of the first overtime as neither team scored again until Doyle scored on a drive with 4:36 to play in the second overtime.
Alexis Sevillian hit the first of two free throws with 3:54 remaining – her only point of the game – before Indiana’s Jaelynn Penn drilled a 3-point basket from the right baseline to briefly tie the game at 80-80 with 3:14 to go.
Meyer matched that with a shot from the right corner and following a miss by the Hoosiers’ Brenna Wise, the senior from Mason City scored on a drive, giving Iowa an 85-80 lead on the lay-in with 1:56 to go.
“Kathleen gave me a great pass (on the 3-point basket) and when the shot left my hand, I knew it was going down,’’ said Meyer, who finished with 17 points. “Sometimes when you aren’t getting a lot of 3-point looks in a game, it can be tough but that one, it felt right and it came from a spot I like. It’s something I practice and prepare for.’’
Indiana pulled within 85-84 on a basket by Grace Berger with 1:12 remaining, but Doyle answered on the Hawkeyes’ next possession and teamed with Meyer to finish off the Hoosiers with four straight free throws.
“We didn’t necessarily set it up for Kathleen and Makenzie to be the go-to players – we had four players in double figures and we have a lot of faith in all of them – but it doesn’t hurt to have good senior guards on the floor,’’ Bluder said.
That was especially the case after Czinano fouled out with 3:20 remaining in the first overtime after scoring 23 points and Iowa needing to rally from a 77-76 deficit.
“We had good leadership on the court down the stretch at the end of the game and it made a difference,’’ said McKenna Warnock, whose 11 points included a 3-pointer which helped Iowa carry a 53-51 lead into the fourth quarter.
Penn led Indiana (14-3, 4-1 Big Ten) with 24 points, helping the Hoosiers build a 34-20 lead midway through the second quarter and extend a 37-32 halftime lead to 44-34 three minutes into the third quarter.
Czinano sparked a run of 10 unanswered points by Iowa (13-3, 4-1), which tied the game at 44-44 on an Amanda Ollinger basket with 4 minutes left in the third and took its first lead since the opening quarter at 49-47 on a Gabbie Marshall lay-in with 3:14 to go in the third quarter.
“This crowd wasn’t going to let us lose,’’ Meyer said. “They were with us all the way.’’
And even though it remains early in the Big Ten season – 13 games remain in the regular season – Bluder likes where the Hawkeyes’ work on Sunday has elevated them.
“It looks good to me,’’ Bluder said. “It’s not the end of the year and there is a lot of basketball left to be played, including our next two on the road where it’s never easy, but first place, we like it.’’