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Iowa Women’s Basketball Team Kicks Off Season Thursday Night

After Elite Eight berth, team looks for new identity after losing three seniors.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 22 Div I Women’s Championship - First Round - Mercer v Iowa
Coach Lisa Bluder is looking for some players to step up to fill the void from three graduated seniors.
Photo by Kyle Ocker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

An incredibly talented Iowa team that went 29-7 during the 2018-19 season and advanced to the Elite Eight where they fell to the eventual champion Baylor Bears looks to regroup after graduating three superb seniors. They tip-off the season tonight at home against Florida Atlantic.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Megan Gustafson (27.8 ppg, 13.4 rpg, 1.8 bpg): Arguably one of the top two players to ever play for the Hawkeyes. Gustafon leaves Iowa as the all-time scorer in men’s or women’s team history with 2,781 points. She is also the all-time leader in rebounds with 1,450 as well as a host of other categories including free throws made, field goal percentage, and double-doubles.

For good measure, Gustafson was the National Player of the Year winner last year from basically everyone that was handing out that award (Naismith, AP, ESPNw, U.S. Basketball Writers, Lisa Leslie Award Winner). Gustafson was drafted (then released and then resigned) by the Dallas Wings and also plays in Europe.

Hannah Stewart (11.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.3 apg): Stewart, a 6-2 post player from North Dakota, was the third leading scorer for the Hawks last year. She did her work inside and was second to Gustafson in rebounds. Stewart signed a contract with the Lakeside Lightning based in North Lake, Australia.

Tania Davis (10.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.5 apg): Davis, a 5-3 guard from Flint, Michigan started throughout her four year career. Injuries slowed her down her sophomore and junior years but she finished strong as a senior in leading the Hawkeye offense. Davis was named a graduate manager at Clemson.

Notable Returning

Kathleen Doyle, SR (12.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.9 apg): Doyle is a preseason All Big-Ten selection. As the player with the most returning points, she will be looked at to score and run the offense at an even greater level this year. Doyle is a 5-9 guard out of the Chicago area (Benet Academy) and she is just seven points from joining the 1,000 point club. Look for her to celebrate that accomplishment in the first half on Thursday. Doyle fills the stat sheet across the boards with points, assists, steals, and even rebounds. She is currently on the Hawkeye all-time points scored list at 37th, steals list at 10th, and 3rd in assists.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 22 Div I Women’s Championship - First Round - Mercer v Iowa Photo by Kyle Ocker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Makenzie Meyer, SR (9.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.2 apg): Meyer is a 5-9 sharp-shooting guard from Mason City. She is currently 10th all-time with 155 3-pointers made and should challenge for a top five spot when all is said and done if she can remain healthy.

2019 BIG Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament - Championship Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Alexis Sevillian, JR (4.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.2 apg): Sevillian is a 5-5 guard out of Michigan (Goodrich HS) who played in all 36 games last year, picking up 12 starts. She is also a solid shooter from behind the line and will help keep the offense spread as the third shooting threat.

2019 BIG Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament - Championship Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Monika Czinano, SO (1.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg): This may look like a suspicious addition to the notable returners list but Czinano is going to quickly become a household name in Hawkeye land. She is a 6-3 center from Minnesota (where have we seen that before?). While she didn’t play a lot last year as someone named Gustafson hogged all the playing time, Czinano was working against her everyday in practice and watching and learning. While no one can be expected to replace Gustafson, Czinano will definitely make an impact. During Iowa’s 98-53 exhibition win over Winona State, Czinano was 13-13 from floor. Remember the saying that we hear from Coach Doyle on the football side, “steel sharpens steel”.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 10 Women’s Iowa at Ohio State Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Upcoming Schedule

Thursday, November 7: Iowa vs. Florida Atlantic @ Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 6:30 p.m.