INDIANAPOLIS - Iowa's women's basketball team raced to a 22-1 lead after the first quarter Thursday and eliminated 12-seed Northwestern from the Big Ten Tournament, 55-45, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. No. 5 Iowa advances to a quarterfinal matchup against the fourth-seeded Gophers, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
"That was pretty amazing and thank goodness for that first quarter and that good start because we needed all of that to finish this game," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.
It was Iowa's eighth win in a row.
Thursday's victory wasn't a typical box score for the Hawkeyes, which had just two players score in double figures. Sophomore Mackenzie Meyer led Iowa with 13 points. Junior Megan Gustafson added 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
"Getting off to a fast start is something we have emphasized all February and now into March," Meyer said. "Clearly that was important in the end."
Iowa shot 42.9 percent from the field in the game and limited the Wildcats to 27.4 percent.
Friday's game will be a rubber match. The Hawkeyes and Gophers tied for third in the regular-season standings. They split a pair of games, with Minnesota winning 77-72 at Williams Arena on Jan. 21 and Iowa winning 92-84 on Feb. 2 in Iowa City.