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Women’s Basketball Wednesday: Hawkeyes Look to Upset Northwestern

A chance for the Hawkeyes to get an upset vs Northwestern

Coach Bluder and the Hawks looking for revenge

Northwestern 1.0 (quickness hurt the Hawks)

Coach Lisa Bluder’s team (9-3, 5-3) takes the court Thursday, Jan 28th at 5pm against Northwestern (8-3, 6-3) looking to avenge a 77-67 loss earlier this season to the Wildcats. The first time around the Wildcats were a step quicker than the Hawkeyes, forcing Iowa into 18 turnovers and poor shooting (26.3% from 3). The Hawkeyes held a 38-30 rebounding advantage. Northwestern shot an excellent 46.7% from 3, most of them wide-open looks. Caitlin Clark was held to only 8 points for the game, well below her average. McKenna Warnock also struggled offensively against the tenacious Wildcat defense, scoring only 3 points. Monika Czinano dominated inside, scoring 28 points and collecting 12 rebounds. Northwestern is a very quick, athletic team; they play only two players who are 6-0 or taller. Courtney Shaw is 6’0” while Paige Mott is 6’1”. Veronica Burton (17.4 avg) hit the Hawks for 18 the first time around with 7 assists. Sydney Wood (14.0 avg) netted 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Jordan Hamilton (9.1 avg) was the player who went off scoring 19 points. That was the difference in the game.

Northwestern 2.0 (what do the Hawks have to do?)

Northwestern pressured the Hawkeyes into 18 turnovers the first time around. The Hawks must value the ball. Easier said than done, but making good, crisp passes is a must. Ball fakes also become important. In Iowa’s 4 out, 1 in (4 guards/perimeter players, 1 post) the Hawks may need to utilize someone flashing to the high post to relieve pressure. This could be Czinano or it could even be another guard who could then feed Czinano in the lost post for a high-low look. The Hawks need to continue to get her the ball as she has a height advantage against the Cats. Here is a flash to the high post, high-low, and give-and-go basket from last season’s game. Old-school basketball at its finest!

The second key is the Hawkeyes need to keep their player in front of them. The quickness of the Wildcats hurt the Hawks the first time around as a Hawkeye would get beat off the dribble. That then allowed either a dump off layup when the help came over late or a kick out to a wide open three point shot. Finally, the Hawkeyes must get back on defense and quickly find shooters in transition. Northwestern hit a number of fast break threes. Wide open shots tend to go in. Funny how that works... Here is an Iowa turnover that leads to a wide-open three.

This will be an excellent test for the Hawkeyes. The Hawks play well at Carver, and you know that Caitlin Clark is fired up after being stymied the first time these two teams met.

Gophers 1.0 (Hawks overcame 16 point deficit)

The Iowa Hawkeyes fell behind the Gophers by 16 in the first half the first time these two teams met this year. The Hawks trailed by 10 at the mid-point in the game. A 30-13 3rd quarter ended up being the difference in the game, as the Hawks won 92-79. It was a very unique game in that the largest lead for both teams was 16 points. For the Gophers 6’2” Kadi Sissoko had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Jasmine Powell is a 5’6” guard that stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Sara Scalia came off the bench to hit the Hawks for 18 points. She hit 4 three-pointers. For the Hawkeyes Caitlin Clark was terrific, going off for 37 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. Monika Czinano had an excellent game, putting in 19 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Iowa shot the ball well and had 7 more rebounds for the contest.

Gophers 2.0 (Gophers will throw the sink at Caitlin Clark)

The Hawkeyes are playing away from the friendly confines of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Playing on an opposing court with a different floor, lighting, rims is always an adjustment. Winning on the road always requires your fundamentals to be a little crisper. The Hawks have to get hands in the faces of shooters as the Gophers were hot from three early on in the first meeting between these two teams. Kadi Sissoko has very good size and skill; she also is aggressive. That’s a tough combination to defend. Jasmine Powell is a quick, creative playmaker. For the Hawkeyes Caitlin Clark put together a season’s worth of highlights in one game. Look for Clark to have another good game, but Minnesota will throw the sink at her and make others beat them. As Clark faces teams for the second time, she may need to facilitate more for teammates. Clark will always be able to score, but she will learn that easy team baskets and preventing the other team from the same results in wins. Here are a few highlights of Caitlin Clark from the first meeting between the Hawks and Gophs.

The first one involves Clark forcing a shot but getting it back, dribbling out to three, and firing. Good! Here’s a stretch where Clark hits some deep threes and also has a nice assist.

There’s no Floyd on the line, no Pajamas Fleck, no boat rowers, or anything else of that nature on the line. Just going into someone else’s house and leaving with a win. Let’s Go Hawks! Who Hates Iowa? Not us.