Iowa’s Davis burns home state Wolverines in Big Ten tourney
Indianapolis – Michigan had a great start in its Big Ten women’s basketball tournament second-round game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Thursday afternoon, but couldn’t finish the job in a 97-85 loss to Iowa.
The Wolverines, 17-13 and the No. 8 seed, used the inside play of 6-foot-5 freshman Hallie Thome (11 points) and 3-point shooting of All-Big Ten first-team sophomore guard Katelynn Flaherty to take an early 24-8 lead.
But Iowa, 19-12 and the No. 9 seed, came back behind the outstanding playmaking of point guard Tania Davis, last year’s Michigan Miss Basketball award winner from Goodrich.
Davis (10 points, 10 assists) found 6-3 freshman Megan Gustafson inside and Alley Disterhoft for 3-pointers and back-door cuts to turn the 16-point deficit into a 52-42 halftime lead.
“She has just been tremendous and she has gotten better every single game all year,” said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder of Davis, heading into the tournament. “She’s a tremendous leader as a freshman, a point guard freshman, and I think that’s probably one of the most challenging things you can take on, and she has welcomed it. The bigger the challenge, the more excited she gets. She is going to be a star in our conference.”
Michigan had trouble with Iowa’s size.
Disterhoft, a 6-0 junior and second-team All-Big Ten guard, reached her average in the opening half, scoring 17 on 6-of-7 shooting. Chase Coley, a 6-3 sophomore, had 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting during the first 20 minutes, and Gustafson 12 on 4-of-5 shooting.
Gustafson (25), Disterhoft (22) and Coley (20) combined for 67 points on 28-of-37 shooting.
Flaherty scored a game-high 31, making 5-of-10 3-pointers.
Thome finished with 15 in 34 minutes but was held scoreless during the second half while taking just two shots. She got into foul trouble, picking up her fourth with eight minutes left and the Wolverines trailing by six.
The Wolverines made things interesting early in the fourth when consecutive 3-pointers from Madison Ristovski and Boogie Brozoski pulled them within 70-68. But Gustafson scored inside, then made two free throws during a 6-0 run for a 76-68 cushion.
Davis again got into the act, finding Coley for a baseline jumper as the shot clock expired, then a no-look pass to Gustafson in transition for an 80-70 lead.
Davis made a 3-pointer from the right corner to give Iowa its largest lead at 89-73 with 1:43 left.