clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Iowa Women’s Basketball: A B1G Week

Iowa goes on the road to Purdue before a big one with Indiana

Iowa v Rutgers
Enjoy the ride, folks. The GOAT is doing her thing.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

I don’t know how it’s possible to quietly be 15-1 (4-0 B1G) with one of the best basketball players the planet has ever seen, but here we are. There is a great deal of hype around Caitlin Clark and Iowa women’s basketball, but Coach Lisa Bluder runs a masterclass when it comes to focusing on improving each practice, each game, each day. The Hawkeyes seem to go about their business, not focusing on things they can’t control. This team plays the game the right way. They play together. They play for each other. They are a joy to watch. And oh, yeah. They win. And win.

After winning at Rutgers 103-69 on Friday, January 5, the Hawks have a road game at Purdue (9-5/2-1) on January 10th, and then come home for Saturday’s January 13 showdown with Indiana (13-1/4-0).

Without getting into specifics, I am amazed at how there are fanbases, opposing coaches, etc... that feel the need to try to diminish what Caitlin Clark is doing. The Clarkeyes sold out Jersey Mike’s Arena. Rutgers is 6-11/0-4 on the year (last place in the B1G) and sold out its first home game since 2006. It is mind-boggling to me what Clark has done for the game of basketball. My guess is that Caitlin will take on a new challenge next year in the WNBA, and that league will see a flood of new fans. As far as the game was concerned, the Hawkeyes were very balanced. Clark had a very Clark-like stat line. She had 29 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and 2 steals. Kate Martin had 17 and 7. Gabbie Marshall had 12 (4-7 3FG), Sydney Affolter had 10 and 10, and Hannah Stuelke had 10 and 7. Molly Davis continues to play at a high level, scoring eight points and dishing out five assists.

I like that Coach Bluder is going with a “smaller” lineup with Hannah Stuelke as our primary post. Stuelke’s development has been fantastic from last year to this year. When the Hawks need more size, Sharon Goodman and Addison O’Grady have been effective. Against Rutgers, the duo played 15 minutes, scored 13 points, and had five rebounds.

This Week: Purdue and Indiana

Purdue - Wed, Jan 10 @ 7 pm (Peacock)

Purdue has five players who average double figures. Their top two players are Abbey Ellis, a 5’6” fifth-year guard who averages 14.6 ppg, and Madison Layden, a 6’1” senior guard who averages 11.5 and shoots a scorching 49.3% from beyond the arc. This is a game the Hawkeyes should win, but it is on the road and Clark and the Hawkeyes get everyone’s “A” game.

Indiana - Sat, Jan 13 @ 7pm (Fox)

After the Purdue game the Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a game against the Indiana Hoosiers. We all remember the last time the Hoosiers came to town.

The Hoosiers won the B1G last year, and the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes shared the regular-season conference title in 2021-22. The winner of Saturday’s contest could very well be in the driver’s seat for this year’s conference championship.

Indiana is an excellent, excellent basketball team. They are also very well-coached. Mackenzie Holmes is one of my favorite non-Hawkeye players. She is a tremendous post. Holmes is averaging 20 ppg and 7 rpg. Sara Scalia is second on the team averaging 15.6 ppg. She is shooting an incredible 46% from 3FG. Yarden Garzon is also shooting 44% from distance on the year. As a team, Indiana is shooting an unheard-of 40% from beyond the arc. The Hawkeyes will need to know where shooters are at all times. Much of IU’s shooting prowess goes hand-in-hand with having an excellent post in Holmes. Teams need to collapse on Holmes as she’s a bucket in the paint, but this also leaves shooters open. It will take a tremendous defensive effort by the Hawkeyes to get the win. The country will see some fantastic basketball as the Hoosiers and Hawkeyes are a combined 28-2 on the year.

And by the way, Gus Johnson is going to be out of his mind Saturday night!

As always, especially when it comes to watching this team, it’s great to be a Hawkeye! Go Hawks!