Senior Ivy Brown had a career-high 31 points on 12-of-16 shooting and the Lady Toppers led for much of the afternoon, but WKU fell 104-97 in overtime against Iowa in the title game of the 2017 Hawkeye Challenge on Saturday afternoon inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Brown was named to the All-Tournament Team after her career-best performance that also included six three-pointers; she was joined on the All-Tournament Team by fellow senior Tashia Brown, who added 16 points after tallying 30 in WKU’s 79-76 win over No. 16/16 Missouri on Friday afternoon.
Joining the Browns in double figures were Dee Givens (16), Sidnee Bopp (14) and Whitney Creech (12). Bopp continued her strong run from the end of the 2016-17 season, knocking down four three-pointers on Saturday, while Givens’ 16 points came after a career-best 20 against Missouri.
WKU connected on a school-record 14 three-pointers against the Hawkeyes, finishing with a 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) mark from beyond the arc. Overall, the Lady Toppers shot 39-of-83 (47.0 percent) from the field, while the Hawkeyes knocked down 50 percent (35-of-70) of their opportunities from the floor.
Megan Gustafson had a double-double of 35 points and 17 rebounds for the Hawkeyes and was named Tournament MVP following her performance. Four other Hawkeyes also joined her in double figures: Tania Davis (16), Kathleen Doyle (15), Makenzie Meyer (12) and Alexis Sevillian (11). The Hawkeyes converted 23 of their 25 chances (92 percent) from the free throw line on the afternoon.
WKU jumped ahead early on a pair of inside shots from Creech and Raneem Elgedawy, and the Lady Topper lead grew to as many as six points on two occasions midway through the first quarter, the first on a Tashia Brown jumper with 6:03 on the clock and again 30 seconds later on a three-pointer from Ivy Brown at the top of the circle to create early separation from the Hawkeyes.
Iowa gradually whittled away at the deficit over the final five minutes of the opening quarter, tying the game at 19-19 after Amanda Ollinger split a pair of free throws with 2:08 to play. WKU answered almost immediately with a three-pointer from Bopp, and the Lady Toppers maintained that lead through the end of the opening frame, carrying a 24-21 lead after the first 10 minutes.
That lead grew to as many as seven points, 30-23, after two early three-pointers from Bopp and Givens in the second quarter, but the Hawkeyes fired back with eight unanswered points over the next three minutes to take their first lead since the beginning of the game, 31-30. Three different Hawkeyes scored during the run, led by a pair of layups from Doyle, to take the lead with 5:38 on the clock.
Ivy Brown finally halted the run with yet another shot from beyond the arc just under 30 seconds later, and WKU would not allow Iowa back in front through the halftime break. Though the Hawkeyes managed to tie the game twice over the final five minutes of the half, WKU responded each time, including a three-pointer from Ivy Brown with just four seconds left that sent the Lady Toppers into the locker room with a 46-43 edge.
Three ties highlighted the first three minutes of the third quarter, and Iowa took a 54-53 lead at the 7:06 mark after a pair of free throws from Doyle. The Lady Toppers answered back with a 9-0 run spanning just over two minutes, with four Lady Toppers finding the basket to push the WKU lead back to 62-54. Bopp connected on another long three-pointer, and Givens capped the run with a layup with 4:56 on the clock.
Iowa again battled back into the game before the close of the frame, cutting its deficit to just three points, 73-70, on Gustafson’s jumper with 46 seconds to play.
Both sides exchanged big runs to begin the fourth quarter; WKU pushed its lead to 10 points, 85-75, after a 10-3 run, but Iowa responded with 13 straight points to take an 88-85 lead with 3:41 to play. Ivy Brown’s three-pointer tied the game back up 20 seconds later, and Gustafson’s free throws with 35 seconds to play forced the ninth tie of the game at 93-93. Bopp had a chance at a game-winner at the buzzer, but her off-balance three-pointer hit the iron and bounced out to send the teams into overtime.
Sevillian’s three-pointer to open the overtime frame gave the Hawkeyes a 96-93 lead, and the Lady Toppers were unable to retake the lead down the stretch as Iowa claimed the 104-97 victory.
WKU will be back in action for an important clash with No. 6/5 Notre Dame inside E.A. Diddle Arena on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. The Lady Toppers will be hosting Notre Dame for the first time in program history, and the Fighting Irish will be the highest-ranked opponent that has visited Diddle Arena since No. 4 Louisville on Nov. 27, 2013.
How to Follow the Lady Toppers: For complete information on WKU Lady Topper Basketball, visit WKUSports.com or follow the program via social media @LadyTopperHoops on Twitter, @LadyTopperHoops on Instagram and on Facebook at facebook.com/WKUWomensBasketball.
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Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Athletic Communications