Iowa tops Michigan State behind Gustafson’s 41 points

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Nia Clouden/MSU Athletic Communications

Michigan State went into Iowa on a three-game win streak, including their first away win in the Big Ten conference. The new starting lineup, which switched Sidney Cooks in for Victoria Gaines, was showing promise in those three games. In the end, the No. 23 Spartans could not keep pace with the high-scoring offense of No. 16 Iowa, led by the nation’s leading scorer Megan Gustafson, in a 86-71 victory for the Hawkeyes.

 

Gustafson handled the Spartans, shooting 17-of-24 from the field, which is just north of 70 percent. She poured in 41 points to go along with 14 rebounds. Iowa was also able to get good contributions from Kathleen Doyle, who also had a complete stat line. Doyle scored 18, went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and grabbed seven rebounds to go along with her eight assists. The duo combined for about 68 percent of the Hawkeyes’ scoring.

 

Michigan State’s stars did the opposite of Iowa’s. Jenna Allen, who went toe to toe with Gustafson in the last matchup, got into foul trouble early and was handcuffed throughout the game. She shot 1-of-7 in only 12 minutes for only two points. MSU as a team shot 40 percent from the field.

 

Shay Colley and Cooks, who each scored 20 points in the last game against Purdue, combined for just 16 on Thursday. Cooks went 4-of-12 from the field, and Colley only managed 3-of-12. The starters for the Spartans shot 35 percent from the field and 31 percent on 3-pointers.

 

Foul trouble also hurt the Spartans. Allen fouled out, while Gaines and Cooks each had four. With the big three in the Spartans’ frontcourt in foul trouble, they could not contain Gustafson. The fouls also led to the Hawkeyes going 16-of-21 from the free throw line to MSU’s 7-of-13.

 

Nia Clouden, who seems to have Iowa’s number, dropped 20 points on Thursday to lead the Spartans after scoring 27 against them back on Dec. 30. Only one other starter reached double figures, Taryn McCutcheon, who put up 11 points on just 4-of-12 shooting. Meanwhile, Mardrekia Cook was able to contribute 12 points for the Spartans off the bench.

 

Michigan State, a team that usually posts efficient passing and rebounding numbers as a team, was outdueled by Iowa. The Hawkeyes out-rebounded the Spartans 44-37, and were able to give out 10 more assists.

 

Iowa advances to 9-3 in Big Ten conference play and 18-5 overall. The Hawkeyes sit just one game back of the Maryland Terrapins for first place in the conference standings. The Terrapins meet up with the Hawkeyes in Iowa City on Feb. 17.

 

Michigan State now sits at sixth in the Big Ten after its worst loss of the season. The Spartans are 6-5 in conference play, 3.5 games behind the leading Terrapins.

 

Eight teams in the conference are separated by only two games. The top three teams have been established as Maryland, Rutgers and Iowa, respectively. The middle eight teams, including the Spartans, will be looking to make moves up the standings with less than a month to play.