GREENSBORO, N.C. – Iowa's entire team roared with much rejoicing in the center court of the Greensboro Coliseum Center, arms locked and beaming as they plunged into that special moment.
The Hawkeyes trotted with confidence and poise in North Carolina. They stay a little longer after taking Sweet Sixteen.
Iowa jumped to the state of North Carolina early, resisted a wolfpack blow, and closed the door with a forceful final stroke. Mix these ingredients together to get the 79:61
"I really think this team is at their peak at the right time and it's nice to see that we're up there at the end of March and now in April," said Junior Makenzie Meyer. "We have really put together a complete game, especially in this second half."
A North Carolina state-owned crowd had few opportunities to make a difference. An early lockdown clinic and numerous contributions from the supportive Hawkeye occupation had controlled Iowa from the jump. His lead in the first half rose to 14 – more than enough cushions.
Against a Wolfpack squad who fires at will, Iowa's defensive schedule could not have been sharper. The state of North Carolina finished 22 percent of lows (4:18) – the third-worst 3 percent percentage of the season.
Kathleen Doyle chased the leading scorer Kiara Leslie and confined her in the first half to only four points and a field goal. Leslie ended up with a team high of 16 points, but it was way too late when she started.
"I did my best to make (Leslie) tough pull ups," Doyle said. "I got a couple of balls in my hands, which just takes you out of the rhythm and gets you out of the rhythm, which is great to start the game and our whole team did a good job of attacking those loose balls."
The state of North Carolina boosted and cut a half-time deficit from 37-24 to five, with 4:43 remaining in the third quarter. The Rotsten roared in agreement when Lisa asked Bluder for time.
The Hawkeyes did not have it.
A 20-8 run, fueled by two pivotal Alexis-Sevillian journeys, followed to eliminate any chance of collapse.
"Literally everyone in the huddle was very, very calm," said the older Tania Davis. "I did not feel any kind of (tension), either from the coaching staff or from the players, nobody was really tense, everybody (Timeout) pushed with a very positive attitude into the knowledge that basketball is a game of runs.
"They had their run and we tried to limit it. But after that timeout we set off. We thank Trainer Bluder and the coaching staff for being turned upside down and holding us on the ground right now and believing in us. "
Megan Gustafson filled in 27 points, with most of the action coming in the second half. She had only three hits during the break, but Iowa kept control thanks to timely exterior.