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NCAAW Sweet Sixteen Recap (Day 2): Iowa advances to its first Elite Eight since 1993

In a day where the last true Cinderella of the tournament bowed out, a new challenger in a field of regional final mainstays arrived.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Greensboro Regional - NC State vs Iowa
Megan Gustafson led the Iowa Hawkeyes to their first Elite Eight since 1993 with a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa’s three senior stars don’t want this season to end — and, at least for another two days, it isn’t over yet.

The Hawkeyes took down NC State on Saturday afternoon, 79-61, to advance to its first regional final since 1993. All three seniors — Megan Gustafson, Hannah Stewart and Tania Davis — scored in double figures. Fellow starters Kathleen Doyle and Makenzie Meyer nearly joined them with nine points apiece.

It was a true team effort from an Iowa squad that’s looked better and better since its close call against Mercer to achieve what was then its first NCAA Tournament win since 2015. As of yesterday, they’ve now got three.

But, as with almost anything the Hawkeyes do, one player stood out most of all.

Gustafson’s 27 points and 12 rebounds were not only game-highs in both categories, but the performance also marked her 33rd double-double of the season — tying the NCAA single-season record. Another one, and she’ll etch her name into basketball history once again.

For NC State, Kiara Leslie led the way with 16 points, and Elissa Cunane added a double-double of her own with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Although four players scored in double figures, the Wolfpack shot just 34.8 percent from the floor and 4-of-18 from beyond the arc.

The teams traded the lead in the beginning of the first quarter, but NC State would never lead again after giving up a 9-8 advantage midway through the period. And while the Wolfpack got close in the third quarter, pulling within five, Iowa pulled away and led by as many as 21 points in the final quarter to definitively seal the win.

Last time Iowa made the Elite Eight, it was under head coach C. Vivian Stringer, who now leads the program at Rutgers. That Hawkeyes squad beat the venerable Pat Summitt-led Tennessee Lady Vols to make it to the Final Four.

With No. 1 overall seed Baylor on the horizon, starring one of the nation’s deadliest frontcourts in Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox, the Hawkeyes will have their work cut out for them on Monday night.

But for now, this Iowa team is just enjoying the time it has left with its three seniors. After all, this entire experience is new to them, too.

Here are Saturday’s complete game results:


NCAAW Tournament — Sweet Sixteen, Day 2

Game results

Chicago region

No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Texas A&M, 87-80

No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 11 Missouri State, 55-46

Greensboro region

No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 4 South Carolina, 93-68

No. 2 Iowa vs. No. 3 NC State, 79-61


NCAAW Tournament game information

Elite Eight

When: Sunday, March 31; Monday, April 1 (click for times)

Where: Albany, NY; Chicago, IL; Greensboro, NC; Portland, OR

How to watch: ESPN, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Final Four

When: Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

How to watch: ESPN2, WatchESPN

National Championship

When: Sunday, April 7, at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

How to watch: ESPN, WatchESPN


More ways to watch the games

Want to watch in person? Elite Eight and Final Four tickets can be found on the websites of the hosting arenas, or here.