Gonzaga edges Iowa in first round
Vandersloot and Standish combine for 64 points
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Gonzaga proved it can win a close game.
Courtney Vandersloot scored a career-high 34 points and Kayla Standish added 30 as 11th-seeded Gonzaga beat No. 6 Iowa 92-86 on Saturday in an NCAA tournament first-round game played on Gonzaga's home court.
Gonzaga (29-4), the nation's top scoring team, won its 19th consecutive game, but this was far tougher than the 25-point victories the Bulldogs have been averaging during that stretch.
Iowa (22-9) had to play in front of a large, hostile crowd at Gonzaga's McCarthey Athletic Center, where the Bulldogs have won 30 of their last 31 games. The only loss was to Stanford earlier this season.
Jaime Printy scored 25 points to lead the Hawkeyes.
Vandersloot made 10 of her 23 shots and all 11 of her free-throw attempts for the Bulldogs, who topped their season average of 86 points per game.
Standish scored 22 of her points in the second half. She made 15 of her 20 shots, including 11 of 12 after halftime.
Kachine Alexander had 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for Iowa. Kelly Krei added 15 points.
The Hawkeyes were not thrilled about having to fly across the country to play a worse seed on its home court. The Iowa band chanted "neutral court'' as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Trailing by seven at halftime, Gonzaga scored the first seven of the second half and tied the score at 44 on Vandersloot's steal and layup.
Iowa went back up 60-55 after a 7-0 run. But a 3-pointer by Gonzaga's Janelle Bekkering tied the score at 60.
The Zags suddenly got hot. Standish made three of Gonzaga's next four baskets as the Bulldogs built a 69-65 lead. Katelan Redmon and Claire Rapp also scored to extend the advantage to 73-65 with 6:22 left.
Morgan Johnson's jumper cut Gonzaga's lead to 83-81 with 2 minutes to go. Standish answered with a turnaround jumper for an 85-81 Gonzaga lead, and Iowa had to foul as time slipped below 1 minute.
Vandersloot hit six free throws to seal the win. She stole the ball from Printy with 10 seconds left to end Iowa's hopes.
Gonzaga, which went to the round of 16 last year, is making its third consecutive appearance in the tournament. The Bulldogs' last loss was to Notre Dame on Dec. 29 in Seattle. Only once in an undefeated West Coast Conference season did Gonzaga have a victory decided by 10 points or less.
Iowa is coming off a loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament, but had won its previous five games.
Vandersloot leads the nation with 10.2 assists per game and has won three consecutive WCC player of the year awards.