INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (AP) - Megan Gustafson had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 10 Iowa past Rutgers 72-67 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals Saturday night.
The Hawkeyes (25-6) will make their first championship game appearance since 2014. They last won the title in 2001.
Arella Guirantes had 16 points to lead Rutgers (22-9). Stasha Carey added 14 points and seven rebounds as the Scarlet Knights lost for the second time without coach C. Vivian Stringer, who announced she was taking a leave of absence in late February.
But Rutgers certainly gave the Hawkeyes a scare when it cut a 20-point deficit to three in the final five minutes.
Iowa's recent tourney history caused some angst, too.
Somehow, though, Gustafson and her teammates steadied themselves long enough to fend off the Scarlet Knights.
Midway through the third quarter, it appeared as if the Big Ten regular-season runner-up Iowa would cruise into the title game. They used an 11-2 run to take a 53-33 lead midway through the third quarter.
Then third-seeded Rutgers fought back. The Scarlet Knights scored nine straight to get within 11 and then went on a 16-2 run to close to 63-60 with 3:47 left in the game.
But Gustafson scored in the post, Tania Davis made a 3-pointer and the Scarlet Knights never had a chance to tie the score or take the lead in the closing minutes.
Rutgers: If Stringer returns for the postseason, as expected, the Scarlet Knights will be one of the NCAA Tournament's top 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 in their way is a rematch with No. 8 Maryland. Iowa won the only other meeting this season, 86-73 on its home court. But on a neutral court will be a more difficult challenge.
Rutgers: Noga Peleg Pelc also scored 4 points. ... Guirantes also had four assists. ... The Scarlet Knights forced 17 turnovers, 14 steals and were 6 of 17 on 3s.
Iowa: Hannah Stewart wound up with 14 points and seven rebounds. ... Makenzie Meyer made three 3s and had 13 points and four assists. ... Gustafson had three blocks and two assists. ... Iowa shot 41.9 percent from the field after coming into the weekend with the best shooting percentage in Division I (52.2 percent).
Rutgers: Awaits the NCAA Tournament pairing announcement to find out who, where and when they will play next.
Iowa: The conference's regular-season runner-up will get a chance to claim its first tournament title since 2001 when it faces No. 8 Maryland on Sunday.