The Iowa Hawkeyes began the climb to hopefully reach another national title game with a 94-72 exhibition win against DePaul. The most important number was 55,646. That’s the number of fans who set an all-time attendance mark for an NCAA women’s basketball game. The Crossover at Kinnick was a record-smashing success.
The entire event was even better than the game, and the game was most definitely entertaining. The Hawkeyes came out to “Back in Black”,
the teams and fans waved to the kids at the end of the first quarter, and $250,000 was donated to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Let’s take a look at how the game unfolded.
Yes, she gets her own segment for this. In 33 minutes Clark had 34 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. In addition to all of her awards, Clark is officially (and perhaps eternally?) the first player to record a triple-double in Kinnick Stadium history. Not a bad day’s work, especially considering the wind was swirling in the outdoor environment.
The Hawkeyes lost a great deal of experience from last year’s team in Monika Czinano and McKenna Warnock. These two players served as Iowa’s primary posts for the last three years. Hannah Stuelke and Addison O’Grady were put into the starting lineup and they responded quite well. Stuelke continues to run like a deer in transition, and O’Grady dominated on the boards. Stuelke played almost 30 minutes. She scored 12 points and grabbed 3 rebounds. She was just 4 for 10 from the free throw line, but it was outside and cold. Her form looks to be more fluid than last year. O’Grady scored 10 points and collected 14 rebounds. Sharon Goodman (Iowa’s third post) played eight minutes and scored five points and added one rebound. The Hawkeyes run a version of a Kansas break where the first post sprints the length of the court to the rim and looks for the ball in transition. Caitlin Clark averages at least two assists a game with this basic yet effective play.
The Hawks will get consistent production from starters Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall. Martin does everything, and Marshall can get hot from three and plays excellent person-to-person defense. How the bench players develop and respond could very well determine just how far this Hawkeye team can advance into March. Molly Davis (and her headband) led the reserves in minutes played (21) and points (13). Davis also grabbed 5 rebounds - for being short in stature, she always gets rebounds with her hustle. Sydney Affolter played 20 minutes, scored 2 points, had 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Kylie Feuerbach returned to the court from a past injury and contributed. Taylor McCabe knocked down her only shot, a three-pointer. She will provide instant offense from a distance for this team.
Former Greats Return
The Big Ten Network interviewed two former all-time Hawkeyes, Megan Gustafson and Kathleen Doyle. Doyle was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2020, and Gustafson was the 2019 National Player of the Year.
It’s mind-boggling that the Hawkeyes will have two G.O.A.T.s within a four-year span. There very well may be a statue of Ms. Clark down the road in Iowa City.
The Hawkeyes return indoors for another exhibition game against Clarke University on October 22nd. The game will be on B1G+ and the Hawkeye Radio Network.
This team and coaching staff are so easy to cheer for. It’s going to be a fun winter, Hawk fans. As always, It’s great to be a Hawkeye!