Iowa’s (3-1) head Hawkeye, Lisa Bluder, has engineered a successful plug and play approach to her team. But there are plugs and then there are PLUGS! And then there are SPARKPLUGS! Last season’s All-America point guard, Kathleen Doyle, graduated taking her 19 points and 6.3 assists/game to the WNBA. Inserted in her place was highly recruited, West Des Moines native, 6’0” Caitlin Clark. The freshman’s 27 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds per game have made WBB fans forget about that other nationally renowned freshman point guard playing in a backwater called Storrs. Well, not really; but Clark has been sensational.
Four games into the season, Clark notched the first of what will likely be many legendary performances by leading the Hawkeyes to victory over Iowa State. A bad shooting night in Carver-Hawkeye mired Iowa in a 73-56 hole at the end of three. Then, Clark rode to the rescue sparking a 26-7 Hawkeye charge. With :24 seconds remaining, she punctuated the comeback with a game winning, long range, contested three for an 82-80 Hawkeye victory. Clark finished the game with 34 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in 36 minutes. A star was born.
The Iowa State game featured the Iowa attack we’ve come to know. Monika Czinano (the plug that a year ago filled the void left by Megan Gustafson) did her efficiency thing in the post with 16 points on 7-9 shooting from the field and 2-2 shooting from the line. And the Hawkeyes wouldn’t be the Hawkeyes without a little three-point flourish. That flourish was provided by McKenna Warnock’s 14 points and 7 rebounds. Like three-point shooting, at Iowa, rebounding is a team pre-occupation. Warnock (8/game) and Clark, (7) are Iowa’s leading rebounders.
Bringing Some Logic to the Discussion
As a shoot first point guard, Caitlin Clark is a different breed than Samantha Logic who led Iowa for four years (2011-15). While both were day one starters and their assists and rebounding averages are similar, Logic’s highest scoring average was around 13 points per game in her junior and senior seasons. Clark's is hanging in at 27 points per game.
Waiting for the Gophers: the Hawkeyes have won 41 consecutive home games.
Iowa’s Season thus far:
Iowa opened with a 96-81 win over Northern Iowa. Next up (the first of three opponents Minnesota and Iowa have in common) was Drake who later defeated Minnesota 66-99. A fourth quarter run propelled Iowa to a 103-97 victory. Clark had a 30 point 13 assist night. Czinano posted 27 points on 11-13 shooting and Warnock chipped in 20 points.
In the Big Ten opener, an “off” night by Clark (23 points and 5 assists) still produced an 85-78 win over the Badgers in Iowa City. It was Sophomore guard Gabbie Marshall stepping up with 15 points (a 3-5 flourish from three) to help save the day.
The only Hawkeye loss, 82-86, came at Michigan State. After recovering from a 44-28 halftime deficit to get within two, an Iowa rally stalled. The prime culprit was the Hawkeye’s putrid three-point shooting (4-30) while Sparty was 8-30 from beyond the arc. While Clark scored 35 and Czinano 24 there wasn’t much help from the rest of the lineup.
Iowa rebounded to take down overmatched Western Illinois before facing Rutgers in Iowa City. Iowa sprinted to a 28-12 first quarter lead. Then a Scarlet Knight comeback turned this into a thrilling Big Ten battle resulting in a 90-84 Hawkeye win. Iowa had few problems with the Rutgers 55 defense; but it took them a while to get comfortable attacking the Scarlet Knight’s full court press. Iowa’s three leading scorers were on top of their game. Clark had 28 points, 6 assists and 8 turnovers. Warnock contributed 18 points and 9 rebounds and Czinano 17 points. It was an excellent game from behind the arc for Iowa 12-22 with Warnock going 5-7.
Warming up for Minnesota, Iowa came out running in Champaign sprinting to a 35-10 lead over the Illini. The Hawkeyes eased off the rest of the way and coasted to a 107-68 win. Iowa was 14-33 from three. That was only one of the many non-competitive categories. Minnesota may not want to spend much time reviewing this video.
Last Season’s Matchups with Minnesota:
In the first of two matchups, the Hawkeyes wrested a mid-January victory away from Minnesota at Williams Arena 76-75. Trailing by 15 in the third quarter, the Hawkeyes charged back cutting the Gopher lead to 9 halfway through the fourth. A Gopher bad ending ensued. Alexis Sevillian hit a go ahead three-pointer with 8 seconds remaining. Nevertheless, Gadiva Hubbard was fouled and went to the line with tenths of a second remaining. Hubbard missed the first and made the second. For the Hawkeyes: Czinano scored 21 on 10-11 shooting; Warnock had 9 points (3-4 from three) and Sevillian 11. For the Gophers: Scalia and Hubbard both scored 18. Scalia also grabbed 10 rebounds. Coming off the bench, Powell had 5 points in 20 minutes.
The late February return game in Iowa City was a senior day 90-82 Iowa victory. After trailing by double digits, Minnesota closed to within three, 80-77, with three minutes remaining. But, Iowa shut down the Gopher rally and pulled away. For the Gophers: Hubbard had 20 points, Powell 15 and Scalia 12. For the Hawkeyes: Czinano 24 points and 11 each for Sevillian and Warnock.
Caitlin Clark's Last Six Games
Team Pts Reb Asst Min Foul Wisconsin 23 5 5 31 1 Iowa State 34 7 6 35 3 Michigan State 35 7 4 36 1 Western Illinois 13 13 10 28 1 Rutgers 28 6 6 34 4 Illinois 21 4 4 27 0
Monika Czinano's Last Six Games:
Team Pts Reb Asst Min Foul Wisconsin 18 9 1 26 3 Iowa State 16 4 1 33 2 Michigan State 24 6 0 33 5 Western Illinois 19 2 1 21 2 Rutgers 17 3 1 33 4 Illinois 15 4 4 27 4
HGT POS YR PLAYER MIN AVG REB 6’0” G Fr Caitlin Clark 31.6 26.4 6.6 6’3” F/C Jr Monika Czinano 28.9 19,4 4.7 6’1” G/F So McKenna Warnock 31.1 15.0 8.6 5’9” G So Gabbie Marshall 26.3 9.1 2.0 6’0” G RSr Kate Martin 25.4 6.1 4.3
HGT POS YR PLAYER MIN AVG REB 6’3” C Fr Sharon Goodman 9;8 5.0 3.2 5’10” G Fr Lauren Jensen 10.4 2.2 .25 6’1” F Jr Logan Cook 9.6 3.3 3 5’5” G RSr Alexis Sevillian 14.9 2.8 1.1 5’3” G So Megan Meyer 8.7 3.6 .4
- Freshman Caitlin Clark is leading the Big Ten in eight statistical categories, including total assists (52), assists per game (6.5), field goal attempts (154), field goals made (70), total points (211), points per game (26.4), 3-pointers attempted (69), and triple-doubles (1).
- Clark also ranks second in the Big Ten in 3-pointers made (22), 3-pointers per game (3.12), ranks third in free throws made (46), and fifth in free-throw attempts (54).
- Clark is one of five Division I women’s basketball players to register a triple-double this season. Indiana’s Grace Berger and Rutgers’ Arella Guirantes also posted triple-doubles this season.
- Monika Czinano leads the conference in field-goal percentage (68.8), ranks second in field goals made (64) and ranks fourth in total points (155).
- Sophomore McKenna Warnock ranks third in 3-pointers per game (2.43), fourth in rebounds per game (8.6), and fifth in 3-pointers made (17).
- Sophomore Gabbie Marshall ranks fifth in the conference in steals (18).
GOPHERS GAINING EXPERIENCE WITH YOUNG ROSTER
• With 10 of its 13 players either freshmen or sophomores, no team in the Big Ten has a higher percentage of its roster comprised of underclassmen than Minnesota's 76.9 percent. Wisconsin (73.3 percent) and Maryland (70) are the only other teams at 70 percent or higher.
• Through Jan. 4, the Gophers' roster had played a combined 8,641 minutes, which ranks 10th in the Big Ten. For comparison, Purdue leads the conference with a combined 15,550 minutes.
• Redshirt senior Gadiva Hubbard (3,033) accounts for over a third of the Gophers' career minutes herself. The other two upperclassmen are graduate transfer Laura Bagwell Katalinich (1,568) and junior Kayla Mershon (915). Bagwell Katalinich missed the first three games this season due to injury, while Mershon sat out the first four due to NCAA transfer rules. Those three combine for nearly two-thirds of the Gophers' career minutes (5,516 minutes; 63.8 percent).
Moving her on and off the point has settled her down.. I still think she can over dribble and get in trouble, but it looks like the coaches are working with her on it, she looks more comfortable tonight.Powell looking like her old self.
Denying Powell as well. Still, we got some looks we absolutely should have made. We should tied or maybe down a couple.They were face guarding scalia and letting mershon and LBK shoot 15 fters, it got us out of rhythm. to much dribbling, not enough side to side swinging the ball
our guards are wearing down with this style