It’s been a long week for the Iowa women’s basketball team. The week started on Tuesday with a 111-93 loss at #8 Maryland in which Iowa shot really well, particularly from three, but played some of the worst defense in program history. Then on Thursday, Iowa played its best game of the season, especially on defense, in an 89-67 win over #12 Michigan, despite a 5-hour delay before the game got started.
To close out the week, Iowa traveled to Madison to take on Wisconsin. At 5-16 overall, and 2-16 in the Big Ten, the Badgers have been one of the conference’s worst teams this season. But a few weeks ago, they did knock off then-#12 Ohio State at home, showing that they can’t be taken lightly. A loss to the Badgers would undue much of the good that the win to Michigan added to Iowa’s resume.
Iowa started the game slowly. Defensively, the Hawks mixed between man and 2-3 zone defense and didn’t succeed in either early on. The offense, meanwhile, started cold, partially because Caitlin Clark missed her first four shot attempts. The Hawks trailed by as many as eight in the quarter, but got things going late on both ends to cut Wisconsin’s lead to 18-17 at the end of the first.
Iowa kept that momentum going in the second quarter. The guards started to hit on three-point attempts, and the defense did just enough to bother Wisconsin on shot attempts to force misses. Iowa won the second quarter 23-12, and took a 40-30 lead into halftime. The Hawks surrendered just 12 points in the final 13 minutes of the half.
The third quarter started poorly for Iowa. The defense had trouble preventing penetration from Wisconsin’s guards, and Iowa struggled on offense. Wisconsin briefly cut Iowa’s lead down to four. But then Clark finally started to hit some shots, and Iowa started to roll. The Hawks went on a big run to close the 3rd quarter, and finished it with a 68-50 lead.
Iowa was a little lethargic in the fourth quarter, and Wisconsin got as close as 10, but Iowa ultimately prevailed 84-70.
Gabbie Marshall led Iowa with 19 points, including 5-6 from three. She’s become a very good and consistent shooter on the wing. Clark had 18 points, 14 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks. She didn’t shoot well today, but dished two games worth of assists to make up for it. Czinano also had 18 points in just 21 minutes. McKenna Warnock was Iowa’s last player in double-digits with 14. A box score for the game is here.
Clark: 38 min—8 pts
Marshall: 34 min—10 pts
Martin: 31 min—12 pts
Warnock: 29 min—6.5 pts
Czinano: 21 min—8.5 pts
Meyer: 6 min—3 pts
Taiwo: 22 min—5 pts
|Goodman: 15 min— 5 pts
Team: 12 pts
The team number was higher today for a couple reasons. First, the FS1 broadcast didn’t start until the game was 3-3, so I put Wisconsin’s first 3 points down as team because I didn’t get to see what happened. Second, Iowa played a decent amount of 2-3 zone today, and a couple of Wisconsin’s baskets came when they overloaded a side. I don’t assign a player responsibility for a basket where the zone makes them responsible for covering multiple players.
Overall, this was another solid defensive performance for Iowa. The only big issue I saw was that Wisconsin was beating Iowa’s guards off the dribble quite a bit, and were getting good looks as a result. They missed a decent number of those, but made enough that Iowa’s starting guards gave up the most points today.
For the first time all season, Iowa ran into depth issues at post. In the second quarter, both Czinano and Sharon Goodman picked up two fouls. With Logan Cook out with Covid, that left Iowa with four guards and McKenna Warnock on the floor. Despite the small lineup, the team did OK, especially on defense. Kate Martin stepped into the middle of Iowa’s 2-3 zone and was active contesting shots and fighting for rebounds. The lineup certainly isn’t ideal for Iowa, but the Hawks did enough to make it work today.
Iowa returns to action on Wednesday March 3 at 3:30 PM Central on the road at #11 Indiana. The Hoosiers are 16-4 on the season and 14-2 in the Big Ten. Indiana beat Iowa 85-72 earlier this month at Carver. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.