INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Iowa’s Megan Gustafson flicked the ball away one closing time Saturday night time then pumped her fists and shouted with glee.

Yes, the 2-time Big Ten participant of the yr can eventually neglect about all those early exits and disappointing finishes and awareness on turning into a convention champion.

Gustafson scored 20 factors and had 12 rebounds to help the 10th-ranked Hawkeyes fend off Rutgers’ frantic fourth-region rate and keep on for a seventy two-sixty seven victory. Iowa will face No. Eight Maryland on Sunday in the title game.

“It feels quite exceptional,” Gustafson stated after posting her second double-double in two days. “Right now, that is kind of all we’ve were given and we just ought to preserve it going. I’m simply clearly excited to position it all available day after today.”

While the Hawkeyes (25-6) had been in this situation earlier than, Gustafson has no longer.

Iowa remaining played for the tourney crown in 2014 and gained its 2nd and most current identify in 2001.

In previous three trips to Indianapolis, although, Gustafson gained most effective games and by no means made it past the quarterfinal spherical. The postseason has been equally problematic with three wins in journeys to the WNIT and the first-spherical loss in her first NCAA Tournament appearance final season.

Now, if the Hawkeyes take down Maryland for the second time in a month, Gustafson will ultimately have the line she so desperately wishes on an already stellar resume.

“We’re pretty glad right now,” educate Lisa Bluder stated. “It’s pretty thrilling for us to be playing for the championship the next day. We’re excited to get returned, get our scouting document accomplished.”

Iowa regarded as though it would cruise into the championship recreation when it took a fifty three-33 lead midway via the 0.33 zone. Instead, 0.33-seeded Rutgers (22-9) reduce the deficit to thirteen at the give up of 3 then used a 16-2 fourth-quarter run to close to 63-60 with three: forty-seven to play.

Arella Guirantes had sixteen factors to guide Rutgers, and Stasha Carey added 14 points, and seven rebounds as the Scarlet Knights lost for the second one time without teaching C. Vivian Stringer, who announced she become taking a leave of absence in late February.

“They got here out, and they punched us in the face from the beginning,” appearing head teach Tim Eatman said. “But to our kid’s credit score, they fought again and that they did not get knocked out.”

BIG PICTURE

Rutgers: If Stringer returns for the postseason, as predicted, the Scarlet Knights could be one of the NCAA Tournament’s pinnacle stories. Rutgers last made the NCAA Tournament in 2015.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes are one win away from that elusive the conference crown. All that stands of their way is a rematch with No. 8 Maryland. Iowa received the handiest another meeting this season, 86-73 on its home courtroom. But on a neutral court docket can be a greater difficult assignment.

STAT PACK

Rutgers: Noga Peleg Pelc additionally scored 14 points. … Guirantes also had four assists. … The Scarlet Knights pressured 17 turnovers, 14 steals and have been 6 of 17 on 3s.

Iowa: Hannah Stewart wound up with 14 points and seven rebounds. … Makenzie Meyer made 3 3s and had thirteen points and four assists. … Gustafson had 3 blocks and assists. … Iowa shot 41.Nine percent from the sphere after getting into the weekend with the great taking pictures percentage in Division I (fifty two.2 percent).

THEY SAID IT

Rutgers: “We want there were another 5 mins,” Eatman stated. “We felt like if there were every other 5 minutes, we would have been in exact form.”

Iowa: “Thank goodness we had been up 20, proper?” Bluder said. “Good element we were not just up 10 or 15.”

UP NEXT

Rutgers: Awaits the NCAA Tournament pairings to find out who, wherein and while they may play subsequently.

Iowa: The conference’s everyday-season runner-up will face everyday-season champion Maryland in Sunday’s identify the game.

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