In Iowa’s last game against Rutgers, I mentioned that there are two types of early 20-point leads: one that feels legitimate and likely to continue, and a second that feels destined to narrow because the two teams are closer than the score indicates.
The Rutgers game was the latter. Iowa jumped out to their big lead because everything was going right and the game soon narrowed after Iowa’s lead was at 20.
This game was the former. Iowa’s offense was on fire early, hitting seven first quarter three-pointers in route to a 35-10 first quarter lead. Iowa started playing bench players more in the second quarter, but still managed to win the quarter and took a 52-25 lead into halftime.
Iowa’s dominance carried over to the second half, as Iowa led 83-45 at the end of three, and ultimately won the game 107-68.
Caitlin Clark led Iowa with 21 points. McKenna Warnock had 18 points on 7-9 shooting, along with 7 rebounds, which tied for the team lead. Monica Czinano was also efficient, scoring 15 points on 7-8 shooting. Megan Meyer was the last Hawkeye in double figures with 10, and Kate Martin had another good game with 9 points and 7 rebounds in just 17 minutes. A box score for the game is here.
One of the things lost this season due to Covid scheduling is the opportunity for Iowa to schedule weaker opponents for developmental purposes. Western Illinois was the only real opponent Iowa has significantly outclassed this year, and even that game was relatively close early.
As a result, Iowa hasn’t had many opportunities to give bench players an extended run of game action. In this one, all 13 Hawkeyes got into the game, and 11 of those 13 scored and played at least nine minutes.
It was a good opportunity in particular for Megan Meyer and Lauren Jensen to get more game action. Both are in Iowa’s regular rotation, but they play sparingly when the games are close.
Good Three-Point Shooting
For a second straight game Iowa’s hot offensive start was due in large part to great three-point shooting, and that could be part of the team’s recipe for success going forward. Iowa teams have shot the three-pointer well for a while now, but over the last few years they haven’t relied on the three as much due to good inside scoring. This year’s team has been more willing to shoot, and it has worked relatively well so far.
Iowa returns to action on Wednesday, January 6th at 6 PM CT at home against Minnesota. The Gophers are 1-4 on the season and 0-3 in the Big Ten, not including the results of their Sunday game at Wisconsin.