Update: I’ve been back two days and the Hawkeyes are 2-0. Coincidence, probably, but I’ll be here as long as Iowa keeps winning. That is my promise to BHGP. Coach Bluder may want to consider hiring me on as a lucky talisman. For a point of reference, I have previously coached Kate Martin in volleyball so I’m taking partial credit for the team’s success!
Iowa advances to the semifinals in the Big Ten Tournament as they defeated Rutgers on Thursday evening. The Hawkeyes will play seventh-seeded Michigan State who upset the second-seeded Indiana Hoosiers to advance. The game will once again be shown on FS2, this time around 3:30 (thirty minutes after the Maryland vs. Northwestern game).
Hawks defeat Rutgers 73-62
Only four player scored for Iowa against Rutgers. Normally this would be a bad sign, but when three of the four scored at least 20 points, that’s enough for a victory against an aggressive Rutgers squad.
Rutgers focused on containing Caitlin Clark, and she was held to just seven points in the first half. A scary moment occurred in the first quarter as Clark was tripped and landed awkwardly on her arm and face. She shook it off and would show up big time in the second half scoring 14 in the half and finishing the game with 21 points and 10 assists.
While Clark was being held in check, Gabbie Marshall was having her own career night. Marshall was 6-8 from deep in the first half to lead Iowa to a 39-25 halftime lead. On the night, Marshall finished with a game high 27 points and also pulled down seven boards.
After her own career night the night before, Monika Czanino added 20 points on 10-15 shooting. McKenna Warnock scored just five points but grabbed 12 rebounds. Kate Martin didn’t score any points but had seven rebounds and six assists and played some tough defense that kept Rutgers out-of-synch.
Next up: Michigan State
Iowa only played Michigan State one time, early in the season, and they ended up on the short end of an 86-82 game. Clark scored 35 points while Czanino added 24 but it wasn’t enough as Michigan State was led by Alyza Winston who scored 25, Nia Clouden with 21, and Julia Ayrault with 19 points.
Clouden was recently named first-team All-Big Ten and scored 30 points in the win over Indiana. After a bit of a dry stretch the last three games of the season, Clouden has found her rhythm again.
Again, this is a good matchup for Iowa, and if Clark can drive and put pressure on the Spartans while finding the hot hand, either Czanino or Marshall (or Warnock or Martin) they will have a good chance to advance to the finals.
The winner of the game will play the Maryland-Northwestern winner on Saturday for the Big Ten Championship.
Hawks Currently Projected as a Tournament Qualifier
Iowa is currently projected as a seven seed in ESPN’s latest Women’s Bracketology. The win against Rutgers may move the needle even higher, but a trip to the finals would have Iowa looking at a five or six seed come Selection Sunday.