Iowa 2022-23

Ignatius L Hoops

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The Hawkeyes return Caitlin Clark, Kate Martin, Gabbie Marshall, Kylie Feuerbach and Sydney Affolter at the guard position, but do not have a true primary ballhandler to take the reigns and run the offense when Caitlin goes to the bench. Molly Davis can fill that role, as well as adding her scoring ability and 3pt shooting to an already stacked offense.
 

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Some schedule news: Iowa will travel to KState for a non-conference matchup.

MANHATTAN, Kansas – Following in its tradition of bringing top opponents to Bramlage Coliseum, Kansas State women's basketball will host reigning Big Ten champion, Iowa, on Thursday, November 17, at 8 p.m.

K-State women's basketball season tickets will go on sale June 6 and start at just $20 for football and men's basketball season ticket holders. Single-game ticket information will be announced later this fall.

The Wildcats lead the all-time series against the Hawkeyes, 4-1, including a 3-0 mark in games played in Manhattan. This marks the first regular season visit from a Big Ten opponent to the Little Apple since the Hawkeyes faced the Wildcats on December 3, 2011.
 

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The Athletic: How Lisa Bluder and Iowa are setting a blue print for women's basketball viability:

Perhaps most indicative of women’s basketball’s popularity was the Hawkeyes’ second-round NCAA Tournament game against Creighton. Not only was the game sold out at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but it featured an atmosphere that rivaled Iowa’s best wrestling duals for intensity and fan volume. Most importantly, ABC aired the event to a national audience.

All-American guard Caitlin Clark not only is one of women’s basketball’s most recognizable faces, but she’s as well known in Iowa as any male athlete in the sports-devoted state. The national scoring and assists leader in 2021-22, Clark has a promotional contract with regional grocery chain Hy-Vee and appears on commercials throughout the Midwest. To Clark, the opportunity to play an important game on a national platform in front of a sold-out arena was “a super big deal for women’s basketball.”

“Obviously, ESPN is great, but ABC is a whole different level,” Clark said. “Those two combined together, what better platform can you ask to play women’s basketball on and to grow the game?

“I think it just really shows the excitement and growth this game has going forward. But we’re super thankful for the opportunity, and we don’t take it for granted.”

The game didn’t disappoint, either. Nearly 1 million viewers tuned in, which was more than 12 college football bowl games, and it went head-to-head with NCAA men’s basketball tournament games. That Creighton won the game in the final seconds was irrelevant. Women’s basketball held its own, even in a competitive sports landscape.
 

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Good presser with an upbeat Lisa Bluder. She's really excited about Freshman Hannah Stuelke. Bluder says Stuelke's playing outside now; but could be terrific inside.
 



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The Athletic: Key questions for the top 15 teams.

3. Iowa

How does Molly Davis’ arrival impact Caitlin Clark’s role?

Iowa got an up-close look at Davis two years ago in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when Davis put up 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and five steals for Central Michigan in a losing effort. But now Davis is a Hawkeye, and she joins a backcourt with Clark. This new combo could go similarly to how Crystal Dangerfield’s addition to the Liberty this WNBA season changed Sabrina Ionescu’s role. Davis should take some of the pressure off Clark, who won’t need to bring the ball up the floor every time (and every shove Clark doesn’t have to take or exertion just to get the ball past half court that Clark doesn’t have to make is a good thing for Iowa). The offense can flow through and be initiated by either of these ball handlers, and it’ll allow Clark to come into scoring positions from different places on the floor. In the perfect world, Davis makes Clark’s job less difficult. But, is this finally the year that Clark’s job becomes less difficult in Iowa City? We’ll see.
 

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ESPN's Myron Medcalf writes up basketball's most marketable players.

4. Caitlin Clark, Iowa Hawkeyes

The Big Ten women's basketball player of the year is an automatic bucket no matter where she is on the floor, which is why she has attracted praise from the likes of Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. The major brands have noticed, too. The junior currently has deals with tax preparation company H&R Block, trading card company Topps and supermarket chain Hy-Vee, all contributing to a reported seven-figure income off NIL.
 

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Lisa Bluder's B1G media day presser:


Iowa Hawkeyes​

Women's Head Coach​


KEVIN WARREN: Our next coach to the podium will be the head basketball coach at the University of Iowa, Lisa Bluder. She works closely with the Iowa City area chapter for Habitat for Humanity to make the lives of those less fortunate livable.

Lisa Bluder, as you know, is an iconic coach, but even more so an iconic person who has done a fantastic job. We are so incredibly blessed to have her in our conference. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, for her to have passed the 800-win mark last year is just magnificent.

Again, welcome to the stage the head basketball coach at the University of Iowa, Lisa Bluder.

LISA BLUDER: That song gets my juices flowing (smiling).

Today is a great start to the season. I always feel like a Big Ten Media Day, it's the start to the season. Here we are in the Target Center.

Everyone has a goal of being here on March 5th, having the opportunity to play for that championship. At Iowa we're coming off an historic year. First time ever in the history of our program that we won both the Big Ten regular season and the Big Ten tournament. So it was an historic year.

We have every reason to have high expectations for this upcoming season. We return, in my opinion, the best point guard in the country. Caitlin Clark not only led the United States in points per game, but also led the United States in assists. First time that's ever been done in the history of women's basketball.

Obviously a Naismith finalist, the MVP pre-season and last year pick from the Big Ten.

We also have one of the best centers in the country. When you think of Monika Czinano has led the United States in field goal percentage shooting at 68% for the last two years, that's an amazing accomplishment.

I always felt if you have a really good point guard and a really good center that you have the opportunity to have a really good year.

Not only with those two women, but we have all the people around her. We have Gabbie Marshall, who is lethal from three-point range. We have Kate Martin, who I honestly believe can just contribute in so many areas. She's a great captain, the glue to our team. We have McKenna Warnock at the power four position. Return all five starters from last year.

We have some newcomers. I think Molly Davis is somebody that you're really going to hear a lot about. Molly Davis transferred from Central Michigan. She has two years of eligibility left. She is going to give us depth at the point guard, which we did not have last year. We're extremely excited to have Molly join our team.

We also have Hannah Stuelke, who is a freshman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Ranked as one of the top 50 players in the country, Miss Iowa Basketball. We also have Miss Nebraska basketball join our team with Taylor McCabe who is the best three-point shooter ever in Nebraska girls basketball history.

We have experience, offense, a great schedule, and we have a great fan base. It's going to be a fun year for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Q. Caitlin Clark is one of five athletes signing an NIL deal with Nike yesterday. How is she handling not only being a star of your team but in a lot of ways the face of college basketball this season?

LISA BLUDER: I haven't noticed a lot of difference with Caitlin. If you know Caitlin off the court, she's probably one of the goofiest individuals I've ever been around. She's humble, she's fun. You enjoy being around her.

I think in her situation, it's going to be hard to handle that. I mean, you are getting all these NIL deals, but at the same time Caitlin is the perfect person to handle it.

There's no jealousy there because her teammates know she has worked hard for it. They consider her one of the best players in the country. She deserves to reap the benefits of that.

Q. Your opponents are going to be focused on Caitlin. What is your message to the supporting cast?

LISA BLUDER: Yeah, I think that everybody on our team feels valued. Yes, we all know that Caitlin and Monika are Pre-Season All-Big Ten selections, but at the same time I think everybody on our team understands their role and understands they're valuable, that everybody matters.

You're right, Caitlin could have an off night. Who is going to step up? I feel like we have got a lot of other weapons.

Q. I think your top four or top five, top six, some of the early rankings nationally, a little bit of new territory I would say over the last few years. How does this team handle it? How do you handle it?

LISA BLUDER: Not think about it too much. Honestly, I think if you think about it all the time, you're going to strangle it. We don't want to do that. We want to enjoy it.

I told the team the other day when we were picked as the No. 1 team in the pre-season in the Big Ten that that can be a lot of pressure, but it can also be something that's really enjoyable. You've earned this.

I had the opportunity to meet Billie Jean King one time. She told me, Lisa, pressure is a privilege, a quote she's used often. She wrote it on a piece of paper, signed it, it's in our locker room. I want our team to remember that pressure is a privilege, enjoy it.

Q. Caitlin Clark, University of Iowa. I play point guard for you (laughter). What makes this team unique? What makes you see excited about this team. Obviously you're one of the best coaches of all time, you're the G.O.A.T. You've coached a lot of great teams. What about this team gets you so excited?

LISA BLUDER: I love going to work every day because of this, right? I love this team. These are incredible women that I would want my children to be around. Every day is something new with these guys. I always feel like being around them keeps you young.

So thanks, Miss Clark (smiling).

Q. I wanted to ask you about the unselfishness of your teammates, alongside Caitlin and Monika Czinano, because it takes a special individual to put their own accolades aside. How have they been able to do that, and how does that enhance your team?

LISA BLUDER: Every one of the women on our team were All-State, All-American, whatever. They're all great players. That can be an issue. You come to college, all of a sudden you're not the star. Every freshman in every Division I program goes through that mostly.

I go from high school being the best player to coming to college and maybe not even playing much my first year. I think the experience that we've had, my staff and I have had, we've learned how to deal with that, we've learned how to make everybody feel important again, to let them understand your time is coming.

I just feel like it's something all of us coaches have to deal with every year when freshmen come in.
 

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Kent Youngblood on Caitlin Clark:

On the court Clark has impressed; off of it she has scored. Big. Taking full advantage of the building name, image and likeness (NIL) craze. Already having done deals with Hy-Vee supermarkets and Topps trading cards, Clark this week signed an NIL deal with Nike, joining a group of athletes, many of whom she idolized growing up.

Just more reason to think of Clark as the face, not only of the Big Ten, but of women's basketball this season.

"As a conference, we're extremely lucky to have Caitlin in our league, with the national attention she gets and what it does to elevate our game and our brands,'' Purdue coach Katie Gearlds said. " hate playing against her. ... But what she does? She puts eyes on all of us.''

Said Maryland coach Brenda Frese: "She's made such a difference. Obviously at Iowa, in the country. She's a game-changer.''

But Clark and her Iowa teammates are more consumed with winning, about reaching the 2023 Final Four in Dallas, than anything else.
 



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As soon as they were on court together for the Iowa women's basketball team two years ago, Monika Czinano realized then-freshman guard Caitlin Clark had no fear of taking risks -- or really anything, for that matter.

"It's hard to believe how much confidence she had coming in," Czinano said.

As for what Clark noticed about Czinano, it was simple math: Feed the forward/center the ball anywhere near the block, and odds were excellent it would result in an assist.

"She is so reliable 100% of the time," Clark said.

Clark and Czinano are entering their third year together as the Hawkeyes, ranked No. 4 in the preseason AP Top 25, try to finish atop the Big Ten again and make up for a disappointing second-round exit in the NCAA tournament last March
 

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Kent Youngblood:

Shortly after the season ended, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder asked Czinano, who had an extra year of eligibility available because of the COVID-19 pandemic, if she wanted to return. She gave the former Watertown-Mayer star a week to decide.

It took three days.

"It was something I wasn't willing to give up,'' Czinano said at Big Ten media days. "It's such a family here. I love playing basketball at this level. Playing with these guys, for Coach Bluder, it was pretty easy to come back.''

With all five starters back from last year's team, including star Caitlin Clark, with a chip deposited on their shoulders because of last year's tournament loss on its home court, Iowa is one of the teams mentioned when it comes to Final Four potential.

And that puts Czinano atop the list of Minnesotans in Division I women's basketball worth watching this season.
 

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OREGON STATE BEAVERS (4-0) vs #9 IOWA HAWKEYES (3-1)

TIME:
7:30pm

TV: ESPNU – Pam Ward and Stephanie White

SERIES: Iowa leads the series 1-0 (Hawkeyes won 90-45 in 1988)

THE NUMBERS

OFFENSE: IOWA:
90.0 PPG, 49.7% FG, 33.3% 3PT, 13.0 TO OREGON STATE: 80.8 PPG, 47.2% FG, 23.8% 3PT, 11.5 TO

DEFENSE: IOWA: 65.6 PPG, 36.7% FG, 28.1% 3PT, 15.4 TO, +12.4 REB MARGIN OREGON STATE: 59.5 PPG, 32.6% FG, 29.4% 3PT, 12.0 TO, +11.8 REB MARGIN

PROJECTED LINEUPS

OREGON STATE BEAVERS


5’11 G Talia von Oelhoffen – 19.5 PPG, 6.3 REB, 3.8 AST, 49.1% FG

6’1 G AJ Marotte – 15.0 PPG, 7.3 REB, 46.0% FG

5’6 G Noelle Mannen – 3.8 PPG, 1.8 REB, 30.8% FG

6’1 G Shalexxus Aaron – 3.3 PPG, 2.5 REB, 33.3% FG

6’9 C Jelena Mitrovic – 8.5 PPG, 8.8 REB, 51.9% FG

IOWA HAWKEYES

6’0 PG Caitlin Clark – 26.8 PPG, 6.4 REB, 6.8 AST, 35.9% 3PT

5’9 G Gabbie Marshall – 4.6 PPG, 30.0% FG

6’0 G Kate Martin – 4.2 PPG, 4.2 REB, 2.6 AST, 36.4% FG

6’1 F McKenna Warnock – 9.8 PPG, 7.0 REB, 42.9% 3PT

6’3 C Monika Czinano – 19.2 PPG, 7.0 REB, 68.4% FG

IOWA PLAYER TO WATCH: F McKenna Warnock

The Hawkeyes have won a game this year where Caitlin Clark was the only scorer in double figures, they’ve won a game where Clark and Czinano were the only two in double figures and they’ve won a game with several players in double figures. In close games, Lisa Bluder needs a third and fourth scorer to turn to. One of those players could and should be McKenna Warnock.

Warnock is a career 43.1% 3pt shooter and 60.3% 2pt shooter. She has the ability to be a double figure contributor, but hasn’t consistently been able to do it. Over her last 32 games, she has scored in double figures 15 times, but has scored six points or less in ten games. Today, Monika Czinano will have her work cut out in the post against a pair of talented centers, so the Hawkeyes will likely need someone else to step up. McKenna Warnock could be the one to do it.

OREGON STATE PLAYER TO WATCH: G Talia von Oelhoffen

Much of the focus in talk of the game this week with Coach Bluder and the players was on the matchup against a pair of talented post players for the Beavers, but von Oelhoffen is the best player on the team. The sophomore was an All-Pac 12 selection last season and was a preseason All-conference selection again this season.

So far this season, Talia is averaging 19.5 points per game, including a 32-point performance against Eastern Washington. She hasn’t shot it well from behind the arc just yet (23.5%), but shot 36.2% from deep last year, so she has the ability to light it up from out there. On top of her scoring, she has 15 assists to seven turnovers in four games, as well as 25 rebounds and a team leading eight steals. Von Oelhoffen will have a big say in how tonight’s game plays out.

KEY MATCHUP: Iowa frontcourt vs Oregon State frontcourt

This will be the Hawkeyes toughest test in the paint area so far this season. The Beavers have two centers that could cause trouble in the contest. 6’9 C Jelena Mitrovic will be in the starting lineup and is five inches taller than anyone on the Iowa roster. Mitrovic likely isn’t going to win the Beavers a game with her scoring, as she has scored in double figures just ten times in 55 career games. However, she is averaging 8.8 rebounds per game and 2.5 blocks per game. Anyone who gets the ball in the lane will have to be aware and get creative with how they put up a shot. Even if she doesn’t block a shot, she can alter it enough to be a miss.

6’2 C Raegan Beers will come off the bench for the Beavers and the true freshman has already made a huge impact in just four games. She is averaging 32.8 points per 40 minutes and 16.9 rebounds per 40, including 7.7 offensive rebounds. The main concern for the Hawkeyes with Beers will be keeping her from giving Oregon State extra possessions.

Monika Czinano, Addison O’Grady and Hannah Stuelke will have to put together a good effort on defense and on the glass to make sure that Mitrovic and Beers don’t have big nights. Iowa is ranked 3rd in the country in defensive rebounding, grabbing 83.3% of available rebounds. That will be tested tonight.

LISA BLUDER TALKS OREGON STATE

“We know it’s going to be a pro Oregon State crowd. They’re only about 80 miles away, so they’re going to have a good crowd.”

“I have a connection with Scott Rueck. He was my assistant for Pan American Games, so we have that connection. I know how good of a coach he is. He plans for games very well. Caitlin (Clark) visited there, so there’s that connection. Jelena (Mitrovic) the 6’9 center visited here, so we know her fairly well.”

“Sometimes they play them together and they’re really big when they play them together. Coach Jensen was trying to find a stepstool, so somebody could step on it and try to shoot overtop of them. She’s (Mitrovic) a legitimate 6’9. I’m just trying to tell the team; you cannot turn and just shoot a jump shot over her. You’ve got to be creative with your post moves. You’re not going to be able to shoot over her. We think we can be up tempo against them.”

“These are things that you want to do when your program gets national respect. You don’t get invited to this tournament unless you’re a Nike school and a top ranked Nike school. We’re thrilled to be able to represent our university at this tournament.”

THE PICK

The Oregon State Beavers make the short trip up I-5 to the Phil Knight Legacy with a 4-0 record and although they have played a couple of close games, all have come against Quad 4 teams. Hawaii has been their toughest opponent so far and they are ranked 162nd in the NET rankings.

On the other hand, the Hawkeyes have already faced three games against teams in the Quad 1 or 2 range, so they have been tested and pushed early. That could come into play, as Oregon State will be getting their first real challenge of the season.

Delving into a couple of “advanced stats”, the Beavers come in ranked 10th in the country in 2pt shooting (59.3%), but the Hawkeyes are very similar, ranking 6th at 60.1% from 2pt range. Oregon State is 30th in points per 100 possessions (110.4), while Iowa ranks 21st (114.0) in the same category. Warren Nolan projects the Hawkeyes to come out with a 76-69 victory, but those two stats lead one to believe that 145 total points could be too low.

Iowa is averaging 77.0 possessions per game and Oregon State is averaging 73.2. While pace numbers are a little skewed early in the year, that would have ranked 12th and 57th a year ago.

The Beavers come in shooting just 23.8% from behind the three-point line, which ranks way down at 310th in the country, however they have a couple of players that have the ability to get going from long range. G AJ Marotte and G Lily Hansford are viable options (combined 35.5% this year), as is the aforementioned Talia von Oelhoffen. Marotte is third in scoring and rebounding on the team, while Hansford is averaging 6.8 points and 2.8 rebounds off the bench.

An interesting wildcard in the matchup is Arizona transfer G Bendu Yeaney. She made her season debut against Prairie View A&M and logged seven points and six rebounds in 18 minutes on the floor. It’s another added piece to a team that already goes about 8 or 9 players deep.

Everyone women’s college basketball fan is looking ahead to a potential Iowa vs UConn matchup on ABC Sunday afternoon, but the Hawkeyes have business to take care tonight. The Oregon State Beavers are more than capable of taking down Iowa, especially if they can get on the offensive glass and get some second chance points.

This game is hard to predict because the Hawkeyes have put together several different performances so far this season and Oregon State has yet to be challenged this season. Iowa played better on ball defense against Belmont, but offensively, they are still looking to improve on their consistency.

I’ll take the Hawkeyes to win against a Beavers team facing their first ranked opponent of the year, but it could very well be a four-quarter battle. IOWA 85 OREGON STATE 79
 




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