Through the first 17 games of the 2022-23 basketball season, Coach Lisa Bluder has been trying to get a feel for her roster. The all-time leader in B1G women’s basketball victories has been there, done that. It’s not her first rodeo. Despite winning the regular season and Big Ten tournament last year, the Hawkeyes were bounced surprisingly early from the NCAA tournament. One of the reasons for this was Iowa’s lack of height and athleticism. Enter Hannah Stuelke. The 6’2” freshman didn’t have far to go. She was a top-45 recruit in the nation out of Cedar Rapids Washington High School. Stuelke, like so many successful Hawkeyes, was a three-sport prep athlete. Stuelke also lettered in volleyball and track in high school. Stuelke has steadily risen in confidence and production; she is making the most of her increased minutes. Stuelke has now earned the backup minutes for Iowa’s four and five positions. It is still the Caitlin Clark show, but Stuelke is seemingly becoming one of Iowa’s go-to players. In 14 minutes Stuelke had 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists. Her quickness, hands, and rebounding ability have all been a much-needed shot in the arm for the Hawkeyes. She will be taking the torch from Caitlin Clark after next year. Here is a snapshot of Stuelke’s skillset.
On Wednesday night in Carver, the Hawkeyes (13-4/5-1) made easy work of the Northwestern Wildcats (6-10/0-6) by a score of 93-64. Caitlin Clark was one rebound shy of a triple-double. She ended the night with 20 points, 9 rebounds, and an eye-opening 14 assists. Clark remained in the game a little too long for my liking in an attempt to reach this milestone, but you can’t fault a player/coach wanting to play. Also, Coach Bluder should make hay while she can with Clark here. The next Caitlin Clark may be watching at home and decide she wants to be a Hawkeye like Iowa’s all-American.
The Hawkeyes got solid production from McKenna Warnock (10 points/8 rebounds) and Kate Martin (8 points). Monika Czinano is so consistent you could set your watch by her. Czinano had 18 points and 6 rebounds. Czinano is shooting 63% from the field this year; this is actually down from her past couple of seasons. She posts very strong and her footwork is exceptional. She also has a very soft touch off the glass. Love me some old-school hoops players! Below is one of my favorite possessions for the Hawkeyes. Iowa utilizes excellent spacing, cuts, post seals, and post entries. The pass by Clark is exceptional.
Molly Davis has been a nice addition to this team. Davis played over 21 minutes and gives the Hawks a veteran ball-handling presence. Davis, listed at 5’7”, had a pretty impressive blocked shot showing she has some athleticism.
A Few Notes:
- The Hawkeyes easily won the rebounding war 41-29. Good things happen when you rebound the basketball, especially on the offensive end (Stuelke had 4 offensive rebounds).
- Iowa shot 42.1% from beyond the three point line. This is a winning number for the Hawks. Equally as important, Iowa allowed Northwestern to shoot just 29.4% from beyond the arc.
- 14 Hawkeyes played in the contest.
- In my opinion what separates Caitlin Clark from many other superstars is that she is a very willing and capable passer. Clark could score 40 most every game. Iowa is a better team when Clark is piling up assists.
- On the season Clark is averaging 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and over 7 assists a game.
- Iowa moves the ball extremely well. The Hawkeyes are one of the best teams in the nation in entering the ball into the post. The ball movement below is as nice as you will see anywhere.
On Deck: Penn State
The Hawkeyes host Penn State this Saturday, January 14th. The game will be at 11:30am and can be seen on the B1G Network. It is also available on the Hawkeye Radio Network. The Hawkeyes sit in second place in the conference at 5-1; Iowa is behind 6-0 Ohio State.
Penn State is an improved squad from last year. The Nittany Lions come in with a record of 11-6/2-4. Penn State is averaging 74.2 ppg and allowing 66.0. The Nittany Lions are a guard-oriented team in that their top three scorers are all perimeter players. To go along with this, Penn State is not an especially strong rebounding team. On the season their rebounding margin is plus 1.6.
Makenna Marisa 5’11 Guard. 18.4 ppg/4.6 rpg
Leilani Kapinus 5’10” Guard. 11.3 ppg/6.0 rpg
Shay Ciezki 5’7” Guard. 10.7 ppg/1.9 rpg
I always have to give a shout out to Penn State’s head coach, Carolyn Kieger.
Kieger was coached in high school (Roseville, MN) by one of my best friends, Scott Lauinger. It is no surprise that she rose very quickly through the coaching ranks. As always, Go Hawks!