Women’s basketball faces a former Hawkeye on Clemson’s staff

The Hawkeyes will face an aggressive press defense in their ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup.

Iowa+guard+Gabbie+Marshall+defends+against+Princeton%27s+Carlie+Littlefield+during+a+women%27s+basketball+game+between+Iowa+and+Princeton+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Wednesday%2C+November+20%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Tigers%2C+77-75+in+overtime.

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa guard Gabbie Marshall defends against Princeton's Carlie Littlefield during a women's basketball game between Iowa and Princeton at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers, 77-75 in overtime.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

When the Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena tonight, they’ll see a familiar face on the opposing bench.

Tania Davis, who was a starter on last season’s Elite Eight team, is now a graduate assistant at Clemson, who Iowa faces tonight in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. She will be honored before the game, along with Hannah Stewart, who was also a starter last season.

Though the Hawkeyes are excited to have Davis back at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and the offensive strategy has changed, she knows the team and its processes well.

“Obviously, she still knows personnel better than anybody,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “And there’s definitely things that are the same from when she was here that she knows, but quite honestly any good coach is going to be able to pick up most of that on their scouting report. She’s going to know the inside kind of things about our team and the personal than most people would know.”

As for Davis’ current team, Clemson is 3-5, but has played against some tough opponents in South Carolina, Maryland, and Alabama.

The competitive early schedule makes it difficult to judge how good Clemson is this season. What the Hawkeyes do know is that it plays the full court press very well in an aggressive 2-3 zone.

The Hawkeyes have been working this week to combat that defense, and they do have experience against similar defenses from last week in Puerto Rico.

“We just learned how to have composure, I think,” senior guard Makenzie Meyer said in reference against playing those defenses. “We have some young guards, so I think it was good to get that experience in and we handled it really well.”

Another thing the Tigers do well in is rebounding the ball, as they average 42.8 rebounds per game. They struggle with 3-point shooting, hitting only 22.3 percent of their shots from that range this season. Senior forward Kobi Thornton leads the team in points, averaging 13.3 per game, even though she comes off the bench.

As Meyer alluded to, the Hawkeyes do have some young players, and the experience through their first seven games is starting to show.

“I think our freshmen are getting really comfortable in their roles,” Bluder said. “Especially Gabbie [Marshall] and McKenna [Warnock]. They seem to really understand that they are a big part of it now. We felt like coming into this year that the sooner that are freshmen embraced and felt a part of it, the quicker we were going to become a better basketball team, and I think that they are understanding it now and realizing that we are counting on them, even though they are freshmen.”

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Marshall described her role as being the backup point guard and said she does whatever she can when she’s on the court. She is currently fourth on the team in points and makes over 40 percent of her 3-point attempts.

“I think as a freshman there’s always a little lack of confidence as you start, because you don’t really know what to expect,” Marshall said. “But I think it’s honestly the team [that] has made be more comfortable talking and being a leader, so I think that’s made me more confident in my game.”

Tip-off is at 8:01 p.m., and the game will be aired on the Big Ten Network.

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