Coach Lisa Bluder’s bunch improved its record to 2-0 on the season easily beating Samford 91 to 54. The Hawkeyes return their entire starting lineup, including all-everything Caitlin Clark. Clark finished the game with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and just 2 turnovers. Monika Czinano continues to shoot an extremely high percentage from the field. She was 8 of 11 and ended with 20 points and 3 rebounds. This Iowa team does an excellent job of moving the basketball and finding open shooters. Caitlin Clark buries this three.
Note to defenders: You may want to know where Clark is in transition.
The non-conference portion of Iowa’s schedule will be an important time for the Hawkeyes to develop depth at the center position. Backup post Sharon Goodman will miss the season with an injury. True freshman post Addison O’Grady (6’4”) will be counted on to spell Czinano (6’3”). O’Grady gained valuable experience playing over 18 minutes. She ended with 5 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. The Hawks can score the basketball. If O’Grady can rebound, play defense, and alter some shots, she will have a very effective first year for the squad.
Another aspect that is worth watching for this team is how they play on the defensive end. This team has high expectations. In order to make a deep run in the tourney, this team needs to defend better than last year. Scoring is nice, but defense allows you to beat the elite teams in March. Against Samford the Hawks allowed a field goal percentage of 32.8% from 2 and 34.5% from 3. Here is a steal by Kate Martin that leads to an easy basket.
If this squad works together on the defensive end, a Final Four is a definite possibility. That’s a long way off, but the foundation started in the offseason and will continue to build going forward. On the year (2 games) Iowa is allowing 52 points per game. I will be more interested tracking our defensive numbers than offensive numbers this year. That’s what will determine how successful this team can be. This squad plays fundamental team basketball, and they can shoot the rock with anyone in the country. As always, Go Hawks!