Lisa Bluder’s squad bounced back with a resounding road B1G game, getting a 102-71 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers. The Hawkeyes were extremely balanced with five players scoring in double figures. Naturally the Hawkeyes were led by Caitlin Clark. All Clark did was score 22 points, grab 10 rebounds, and dish out 10 assists. This was Clark’s seventh career triple-double. For those of you keeping score at home, that sets the B1G record. Clark still has 1.5 years of college left to shatter records.
The Hawks were able to get Monika Czinano back on track. Coach Bluder had mentioned that Czinano was not getting the ball the way that she should be in Iowa’s offense. A post should always get the ball when they are posted on the block with a defensive player behind them. This allows the post to score, get foulded, pass to cutters breaking to the hoop, or allows the post to pass out to open shooters on the perimeter, especially if a perimeter defender digs down to get the ball out of the post. Good (great) things happen when the ball goes into the post. This is becoming a lost art in the game. Czinano finished with 18 points on 9 of 10 shooting. She also had 8 rebounds.
McKenna Warnock (13 points), Molly Davis (13 points), and Hannah Stuelke (10 points) rounded out Iowa’s double-digit scorers. Thirteen Hawkeyes saw the floor in the tune up for the big non-conference game against the Cyclones. The Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle 35-19. The 71 points allowed is still too many for my liking. As I’ve stated numerous times, the Hawks need to look at every defensive possession and rebound as an opportunity to prepare for late March. Maintaining defensive focus can be a challenge in an “easy” contest, but this must be Iowa’s emphasis going forward.
On the season Iowa State is off to a terrific start. The Cyclones are 6-1 with the lone loss being to sixth-ranked North Carolina by a score of 73-64. The Cyclones are led by star Ashley Joens. Joens comes in averaging 19.9 points per game. Joens is one of the best players in the game today. She is also averaging 9.3 rebounds and over 2 assists per game. Joens is a good three point shooter (38%) and exceptional free throw shooter (91%). Joens is a strong, relentless player who loves to compete. It would be easy to bill this game as the Clark/Joens game, but the winner will more than likely be determined by whose supporting cast steps up. Last year the Cyclones pulled off the upset, knocking off the #12 Hawkeyes 77-70 in Ames. Joens and Clark both scored 26 points.
Stephanie Soares is a 6’6” post who could be a matchup problem for the Hawkeyes. Soares is averaging 16.3 points and 9 rebounds per game. Soares was a Two-Time NAIA Division I Player of the Year (2019-20, 2021-22) and played some international ball this summer for Brazil. Her height will be a challenge for the shorter Czinano. Soares can shoot the basketball as well. She is shooting 37% from 3 and 72% from the line.
The Cyclones have two additional players who average double-figures. Emily Ryan is a guard who averages 12.4 points and Lexi Donarski averages 11.9. As a team the Cyclones are shooting just under 33% from beyond the arc. They are an excellent free throw shooting team (81.2%) and they out-rebound their opponents by almost 13 rebounds per contest.
PPG / OPPG: 87.2 / 70.9
3P percentage: 35.2%
FT percentage: 74.0%
Rebounding Margin: +6.2
PPG / OPPG: 84.3 / 62.1
3P percentage: 32.6%
FT percentage: 81.2%
Rebounding Margin: +12.9
The state of Iowa is lucky to have such high-quality basketball. At least two future WNBA players are going to be going head-to-head on Wednesday night at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Yes, it is a matchup of two excellent players, but both teams have very high expectations and are capable of cutting down nets in late March.
The tip is at 6pm, Wednesday December 7th at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and can be seen on ESPN2. The game will also be available on the Hawkeye Radio Network.