The Hawkeyes and Huskies did not disappoint. UCONN prevailed over the Hawkeyes 92-72. How good are the Huskies? This is their 15th straight Elite 8! What?!!?? Caitlin Clark ended the day with 21 points. McKenna Warnock provided 20. The Hawkeyes battled the entire way. These women made the nation take notice. I’m proud to be a Hawkeye!
This game was a little ragged the first few possessions for both teams. With so much hype on the game and players coming in, this didn’t come as a surprise. After a few minutes there was some pretty nice up-and-down basketball. For the Hawkeyes McKenna Warnock (8 points) and Gabbie Marshall (9 points) kept the Hawkeyes in the game offensively.
Caitlin Clark was hounded, as expected, by athletic, determined defenders. Clark struggled offensively shooting 2-11 from the field (7 points). Clark did collect 4 assists.
One of the keys to the first half was UCONN’s dominance on the offensive glass. The Huskies collected 10 offensive rebounds. UCONN has some nice length, but they also have quicker jumpers than the Hawkeyes. This was a big reason as to why the Hawks trailed by 14 points at the half. For UCONN Paige Bueckers had a solid half with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. On the game Bueckers ended with 18-9-8 on the day. Christyn Williams paced the Huskies with 18 at the half. She finished with 27.
The Hawkeyes need to get the ball into the post in the second half. Either with the post up, drives, or back cuts. The Hawks have an uphill battle but you know they won’t quit. Look for the Hawks to make a run. It was evident that Coach Lisa Bluder emphasized both of these points at the half. The Hawkeyes got the ball into the post a few times to start and third quarter and they did an excellent job of boxing out on the defensive boards.
At the 3:19 mark in the 3rd quarter the Hawks pulled within 8 points 55-63. Iowa went on a 7-0 run mixing in some Caitlin Clark offense and tough defense. This team is so fun to watch. They battle. Unfortunately, UCONN has so much firepower offensively and defensively. The Huskies do an excellent job transitioning from offense to defense; this puts a great deal of pressure on a team defense. At the end of the 3rd quarter Caitlin Clark buries a three at the buzzer to pull Iowa within 11 points, 61-72.
This Hawkeye team won’t go away. The Hawkeyes refused to quit. Paige Bueckers and McKenna Warnock traded three point baskets in an exciting span of a few minutes. The Hawkeyes cut the UCONN lead to 9. The Huskies have earned their reputation as an aggressive team, but they definitely get away with a number of fouls that aren’t called. Such is life in college basketball. The Hawkeyes couldn’t quite get over the hump as they uncharacteristically had a few unforced turnovers. Also, Caitlin Clark passed up a few shots that she normally would take (and make). Credit to UCONN.
What a Season, Hawks!
It has been a great deal of fun following this Iowa team. They are a very young team. They are only going to get better. They play hard and they play together. Hats off to Coach Bluder, her staff, and her players. Once again, It’s Great to be a Hawkeye! Go Hawks!