IOWA CITY – Former Mason City Mohawk Mackenzie Meyer scored in double digits for the third-straight game to help Iowa beat Northwestern, 78-59 Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Three Hawkeyes scored in double figures. They include: Megan Gustafson (17), Ally Disterhoft (14), and Meyer (10). Meyer also had one steal and one assist in 34 minutes of game action. She is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
Iowa (16-10; 7-6) led Northwestern (17-9; 6-7) 41-29 at the half. The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 13-4 lead and never trailed in the contest.
The Hawkeyes return to action Feb. 19 to take on Purdue in Indiana at 11 AM (ET).
COACH BLUDER: I thought this was just a really, good, controlled victory for us. I thought we had a lot of contributions from a lot of different sources tonight, and that was really nice to see. Great balance. We won every quarter. I feel really good about the effort that we got from our team today.
Q. When you talk about a team win, I think you were under nine minutes left in the game, and you didn’t have a single player in double-figure scoring, but you had like a 13-point lead?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, I thought we had some great production off the bench tonight. Lex came in and did a great job. Hannah Stewart came in and did a great job. Amanda got six rebounds in her minutes. So we just had contributions from so many different people tonight.
Chase, I really recognized her after the game for her rebounding. We’ve kind of been on her all year about that rebounding, and she was our leading rebounder today, and our leading offensive rebounder, so that was really nice to see.
Q. Northwestern’s experience was one of the biggest things that you were thinking about. Your team looked like the older team tonight.
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, I thought it’s that time of year where freshmen stop playing like freshmen. Lex brings some great experience onto the floor for us. We’re fortunate for that. Chase was a starter last year for us, so we’re fortunate for that. So, I thought we were in really good control tonight.
Q. Along with what Chase was saying, when they got in foul trouble, you got a lot from the post. How important is that to kind of suspending the run and stuff like that?
COACH BLUDER: Hannah Stewart is a really good basketball player. It’s kind of unfortunate for her, because she’s playing behind a great basketball player. That can be frustrating at times, but she just keeps working hard. She knows that she’s going to get in for her eight to ten minutes, and today she really made great use of them.
So, it’s just such a nice thing for a coach to have somebody coming off the bench at that center position that’s able to produce like that.
Q. Were Amanda’s minutes necessity or has she been showing something in practice?
COACH BLUDER: Both. Amanda has practiced hard all year, but definitely with Bre and Christina being out, it forced the hand on a lot of things, but she’s definitely earned it. As you can see with her confidence out there, I thought she really went out there and played confidently, that she feels like she deserves it, and you want kids feeling that way.
Q. How important was tonight, given your next two are on the road and finishing out the regular season?
COACH BLUDER: Absolutely. You want to hold that homecourt advantage. We did tonight. But you’re right. We go on the road now for two games in a row, so that was really important. And then we come back for one home game before the Big Ten. So hopefully we can get some momentum going before the Big Ten.
But playing at Purdue is always a tough place to play. We did win there a couple years ago, and ironically it was during the pink game, and that’s what we’ll be playing again on Sunday.
They draw well. I don’t know a whole lot else about them. I’ll start on them in about an hour. And so we’ll find out more then.
Q. Do you feel like you’re figuring things out like you’re getting the rotation and everything on offense?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, I thought we played really well last week without Tania, and then this happens with Christina and Bre. It’s just another wrench thrown in here.
But I’m telling you, my players, every time they handle every situation. They’re staying positive, they’re staying confident. They can handle it. They’re coming with ultimate focus for practice when we do have to change some things around. We do have to tweak some things because of people moving in and out of the lineups. But they’re staying focused and doing a great job. So I really commend my team because they’re just doing such a great job.
Q. Any timetable for Bre and Christina at this point?
COACH BLUDER: It’s a day-to-day thing. With concussions, you just never know.
Q. Can you talk about your strategy against Coffee, how you kept her contained except for that little stretch in the second half?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, she started out the third quarter pretty much on fire. But other than that I thought we did a good job. We tried to identify her, and with Nia, we just wanted her to take hard twos. We didn’t want her to get to the rim. We didn’t want her to get offensive rebounds. We didn’t want her to get those post-up shots. We wanted her to take hard twos, contested, outside jumpers. That was kind of our goal.
Q. Northwestern came out really aggressive, and you spent a lot of time in the post, the team did, in the first half. Did you guys come up with a new game plan or did your players just adapt to it?
COACH BLUDER: I think our players just kind of adapted to it. This time of year you’ve seen almost every style. You’ve seen teams that sag, you’ve seen teams that deny, you’ve seen teams that zone. So you should be prepared for almost anything this time of year. So I think they can adjust on the fly pretty well.