A win is a win is a win. Whew. In an ugly game, the Iowa Hawkeyes women’s basketball team when into the Breslin Center and came away with an 84-81 overtime victory over the Michigan State Spartans. The Hawkeyes did not play particularly well, but a road win, despite a lack of aesthetics, feels pretty darn good. There were 41 fouls called, 25 against the Spartans and 16 against the Hawkeyes. There were possibly 30 more that were not called. This was a back-and-forth game and it was entertaining, but it wasn’t a well-played game by either team.
Monika Czinano fouled out, but prior to this she put on a clinic in the low post. Czinano is one of the most efficient post players I’ve ever seen. She was 11 for 11 from the field to raise her season field goal percentage to 65.09% (she sits in 5th place nationally). Czinano also had seven rebounds. Monika has quietly moved into third place on Iowa’s all-time scoring list with 2104 points. Megan Gustafson is the GOAT (for the moment) at 2804 points, and Caitlin Clark has already amassed 2170 in just a little over two and a half seasons.
Caitlin Clark filled that stat sheet, but it was not a great game from her. She still hit the game-winning shots for the Hawks. Clark finished with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 11 assists. Offensively she struggled, especially from beyond the arc. Clark was just 2 of 10 from distance against the Spartans. Clark also turned the ball over five times. The end of the game was crazy for lack of better words. The Hawks had the game wrapped up and just needed to get the ball inbounds. It appeared that an Iowa player’s jersey was being pulled/held and Clark brought her arm up to shake off this hold. She hit a Michigan State player in the nose and that player sold it very, very well. She staggered back almost to the baseline, and of course the refs had to look at the monitor. Sparty was given two free throws and the ball. The Hawks got a defensive stop and “In Heaven There Is No Beer.”
Hawkeye fans are once again seeing freshman Hannah Stuelke grow up right before our eyes. Stuelke played more than 24 minutes and scored seven points, collected nine rebounds, had two steals, one assist, and one block. She will be The Franchise her junior and senior years. She and Clark will be a tremendous pick and roll duo next year. Here was a post feed into Stuelke and a strong move to the basket for an and-one.
That’s a strong move by the freshman. I would have called a hook on her, but it was a great move nonetheless.
Molly Davis continues to provide excellent depth for Coach Lisa Bluder. The Hawkeyes have had some players banged up during the past few contests. Davis has provided “starter-quality” play off the bench. Davis had seven points and four assists. Here are two nice video clips of Davis driving and kicking out to Gabbie Marshall for three balls.
As stated the game had a negative vibe about it. The BTN+ feed was atrocious. The announcers were all about Michigan State, and they had their microphones set to a level that I would describe as “Blow People Off Their Couch” level. Many a Hawkeye fan muted their TV and turned on the Hawkeye Radio Network. Going on the road you can expect a hostile reception. One thing that really turned me off was the actions of a few of the Spartans players. On multiple occasions the TV focused on Sparty’s players mocking Hawkeyes. One Michigan State player was pretending to pout and rub her crying eyes. Another player was pretending to react to a foul by imitating Caitlin Clark. It wasn’t a good luck from anyone, really. Caitlin Clark is the best player in college basketball. She is a generational talent. She does need to play through anything and everything teams throw at her. If I were an opposing coach, I too would have my players hold, grab, and challenge her. The refs don’t owe her any special treatment, but they certainly need to call fouls against players guarding Clark. Caitlin was fouled nine times, but I would estimate that the actual fouls were twice that. It would be a shame if the face of college basketball is injured if it can be avoided.
Next Up: (the) Ohio State University
The Hawkeyes will visit #2 Ohio State (18-0) Monday, January 23rd. The game is set for 6pm and can be seen on ESPN2. It will also be available on the Hawkeye Radio Network.
As always, Go Hawks!