Penn State had their ups and downs in this game, shooting just 36 percent from the field, compared to the Hawkeyes' 53 percent, but gained the edge on rebounds 40-29.
Jess Strom (Munhall, Pa.) led all scorers with 21 points, 13 in the second half. Tanisha Wright (West Mifflin, Pa.) added 17 for the Lions.
Wright chipped in a season-high tying seven assists and five boards. Ashli Schwab (Myerstown, Pa.) tallied her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 boards.
After falling behind by as many as 10 points with 14:44 left to play in the game, Penn State outscored Iowa, 23-12 over the next 11 minutes and took the lead when Wright scored on a driving layup at the 3:11 mark to put Penn State up, 60-59.
Iowa tied it up, but Wright answered with a jumper which put Penn State up 62-60 with a little over two minutes left. Penn State never lost the lead from that point, despite missing three of their final four shots.
The Buckeyes and Golden Gophers will meet at 3:30 p.m. on FSN Chicago and FSN Pittsburgh on Sunday.
On the bottom side of the bracket, No. 2 Michigan State escaped No. 7 Illini, 61-50.
The Spartans will face Penn State in the tournament's other quarterfinal on Sunday at 6 p.m.