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Iowa Women’s Basketball: Year in Review

Like all other sports, basketball was left wondering what could have been. Let’s celebrate anyway.

A great season from the Hawkeyes
Brian Ray//hawkeyesports.com

What was supposed to be a rebuilding season for the Iowa Hawkeye basketball team following the departure of NCAA Player of the Year Megan Gustafson soon became a season to cherish as Iowa continued to pile up the victories behind senior guards Kathleen Doyle and Makenzie Meyer and sophomore post player Monika Czinano.

While they finished third place in the conference regular season and were eliminated in their first game in the Big Ten Tourney, Iowa was eagerly awaiting their assignment in the NCAA Tournament and the possibility of hosting the first two rounds.

Alas, COVID-19 eliminated all college sports and events for the spring so everyone was left to wonder what could have been. Although Iowa wasn’t given the reward for their excellent season, their accomplishments should still be celebrated.

First off, Kathleen Doyle was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and AP All-American honors (third team). This is the third straight season that a Hawkeye has won the honor as Doyle takes the title after a two year reign by Gustafson. Doyle was spectacular this season as she averaged 18.2 points and 6.4 assists per contest. We highlighted her career earlier this month.

Sophomore Monika Czinano couldn’t replace Gustafson who was one of the all-time greats in Hawkeye and NCAA history, but she sure did show that she can play and be a force in the Big Ten. Czinano averaged 16.0 points per game and finished second in the country as she shot .679 from the field. She was awarded first team honors in the conference by the media’s vote.

Also garnering conference honors were senior guard Makenzie Meyer who was a second team winner. Meyer was the third Hawkeye to average in double figures as she scored 14.3 points a game. She often hit clutch three-pointers and led the team with 77 buckets from behind the line.

As a team, Iowa finished 23-7 including 14-4 in the conference. They finished the season ranked 21st in the AP final poll. As noted below they had a nine game winning streak during the season and have an active 36 game home winning streak that they’ll carry into next season. The team had a weird habit of coming back from double digit deficits to win games, a habit not strongly recommended.

The individual and team honors and efforts led to some great highlights from the regular season.

Most Points Scored: Iowa scored at least 100 points four times this season but the peak was a 108-72 thumping over Illinois. Senior Kathleen Doyle, the Big Ten Player of the Year, led the way with 33 points.

Fewest Points Allowed: Poor North Carolina Central came to Iowa City in mid-December, hopefully to get a decent payday. They left town being more than doubled up by the Hawkeyes 102-50. The fifty points allowed was the fewest the defense allowed all season. Iowa held the Eagles to 30.4% shooting including just 20.8% from the three-point line.

Comeback Kids: Iowa won at Minnesota in January as Alexis Sevillian drained a three with just eight seconds remaining. Iowa overcame a 15 point second half deficit to win and continue their winning streak.

Longest Winning Streak: While Iowa is currently on a 36 game home winning streak, they don’t let you play all your games at home. Iowa’s longest winning streak this season was nine games during the heart of conference action. There were five home wins and four road wins during that streak.

Longest Losing Streak: Iowa finished the season with their longest losing streak of the year at two games, the only time all year that they lost back-to-back games.

Final Stats Leader

Points Per Game: Kathleen Doyle (18.1)

Three Pointers Made: Makenzie Meyer (77)

Field Goal % (min 75% games played): Monika Czinano (67.9%)

Free Throw % (min 75% games played): Tomi Taiwo (90.0%), Makenzie Meyer (84.3%)

Rebounds Per Game: Amanda Ollinger (8.4)

Assists: Kathleen Doyle (189)

Steals: Kathleen Doyle (55)

Blocks: Amanda Ollinger (55)

Next Season

We’ll certainly have more next fall, but the Hawkeyes won’t have a bare cupboard next season even with the loss of Doyle and Meyer. Besides Czinano, Iowa will have some experience returning in senior (to-be) Sevillian, junior Tomi Taiwo, and sophomores Mckenna Warnock and Gabbie Marshall. In addition, Iowa adds a stacked recruiting class that includes Iowa Player of the Year Caitlin Clark.