Hawkeyes beat Rutgers
The Hawkeyes (19-7; 13-4) took care of business last night on the road against Rutgers (9-19; 2-14) winning 87-78. Lisa Bluder’s squad was led by the three-headed Hawk-monster Clark/Czinano/Warnock. Caitlin Clark led Iowa in scoring with 32 points. She also collected 9 rebounds to along with 9 assists. One aspect of Clark’s game that doesn’t receive a lot of press is that she was fouled 9 times. Opponents are throwing the kitchen sink at her and she rises to the occasion. She thrives on that, actually. Clark is more than a bomber from deep. Here she posts up and shows some nice footwork.
Monika Czinano continues to be insanely accurate from the field going 10 of 11. Czinano is shooting 64.5% on the season (good for third nationally). Czinano announced the other day that she will return for one more year to wear the black and gold. Great news for the Hawks! McKenna Warnock, how important is she to this squad?!?, had 19 points and was 5 for 9 from the three point line. Warnock drills this three from the corner.
Check out this ball movement by the Hawks finding the open player for a three. Tomi Taiwo has been a spark recently with hustle and the ability to knock down shots.
Iowa did turn the ball over too many times (17), and the Hawkeyes were outrebounded 35 to 28. There is always room for improvement. Leaving an away arena with a win is the bottom line. The victory sets up a ginormous game against Michigan this Sunday.
Let’s win a championship!
The Hawkeyes return home to play Michigan (13-3) on Sunday, February 27th. The game is at 3pm and will be televised on ESPN2. Michigan sits atop the Big Ten but they are not making up a previous game against Illinois. If the Hawks can beat the Wolverines, Iowa is guaranteed at least a share of the Big Ten Championship. Michigan has a 5-4 record in Big Ten road games. Iowa and Clark staged a huge comeback on February 6th against Michigan in Ann Arbor, losing 98-90. Clark ended up with 46 points and 10 assists in the contest. The name of the game is going to be defense and rebounding. Iowa gave up 26 points to Michigan’s star player Naz Hillmon, but also 24 to Laila Phelia and 17 to Maddie Nolan. The Hawks were also beaten handily on the glass, getting outrebounded 44-27.
Iowa’s last regular-season Big Ten championship was the 2007-2008 season. The Hawkeyes are already assured of receiving a double bye in the Big Ten tournament that starts Wednesday, March 2nd in Indianapolis.
The Hawkeyes are playing some good basketball. Getting McKenna Warnock back has helped considerably. Scoring the basketball is nice; it makes every coach look better. Defense and rebounding win championships. If the Hawkeyes can do both on Sunday, this team can cut down some nets. After that, the nation gets to see the best player in college basketball. As always, Let’s Go Hawks!