Warnock makes quiet impact for women’s basketball

Throughout the season, the freshman swingman has made an efficient impact in her limited minutes.

Iowa+guard+Kathleen+Doyle+%2822%29+and+McKenna+Warnock+run+down+the+court+during+a+game+against+North+Carolina+Central+University+on+Saturday%2C+Dec.+14%2C+2019+at+Carver+Hawkeye+Arena.+The+hawkeyes+defeated+the+eagles%2C+102-50.+%28Emily+Wangen%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29

Emily Wangen

Iowa guard Kathleen Doyle (22) and McKenna Warnock run down the court during a game against North Carolina Central University on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 at Carver Hawkeye Arena. The hawkeyes defeated the eagles, 102-50. (Emily Wangen/The Daily Iowan)

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

Freshman swingman McKenna Warnock has quietly made a mark on the Iowa women’s basketball team this season, and it showed on Saturday against North Carolina Central when she had nine points, five rebounds, and three assists in Iowa’s 102-50 victory. This all came in 13 minutes of play.

Warnock came off the bench in the first quarter and made a 3-pointer with 3:44 to go. Her most impressive moment in the first half came when she made two layups within the first minute of the second quarter.

The nine points she scored were the second most among players off the bench, trailing freshman guard Gabbie Marshall who had 11 points.

“In practice, the coaches and my teammates gave me a lot of pointers and had a lot of confidence in me and just told me to go out and relax and just play my game,” Warnock said.

The first game of her career was great for her, as she got 10 points and 10 rebounds against Florida Atlantic in 14 minutes. She also had a nice game against Towson in Puerto Rico when she scored 11 points, which was another blowout victory for the Hawkeyes. She has scored in every game but one this season.

Before this game, she was averaging 6.1 points per game, 3.6 rebounds, and one assist.

The Marshall, Wisconsin, native had an impressive high school career. At Monona Grove High School, she became the school’s all-time leading scorer and all-time leading rebounder during her junior season. She also led her conference in scoring and rebounding all four years. In total, she had 2,311 points, 954 rebounds, 243 assists, 177 steals, and 159 blocks.

Unsurprisingly, this led to numerous awards, as she was named Miss Wisconsin Basketball and Wisconsin Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year in 2019, as well as a MaxPreps All-American in the same year. She also was on the Naismith High School Girls’ Watchlist and McDonalds’s All-American nominee in 2019.

On Saturday, she ran into foul trouble in the third quarter, as she fought for a rebound with 4:49 to go that led to her receiving a foul, her third of the game. She was subbed out soon after and scored only two points after that foul.

Nonetheless, head coach Lisa Bluder was proud of how she’s played through the first 10 games of the season.

“We knew McKenna coming in here was a great basketball player,” Bluder said. “I mean she’s been Miss Wisconsin Basketball, we’ve been recruiting her since her freshman year, so we’ve seen a lot of McKenna over the years, but I’m excited seeing her come in here and get a bit more comfortable.”

Her teammates appreciate her coming up big on the boards.

“She’s been great,” senior guard Kathleen Doyle said. “I mean, I think one thing she does a really good job at is her effort in rebounding. She’s a workhouse down there and you can always count on her to be gritty underneath the hoop and we need that, especially [because] we’re a guard-oriented team. That’s been really big for us. Her effort [has] been awesome.”

Warnock and the Hawkeyes will return to the court after finals, when they face Drake at Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 6 p.m. on Dec. 21.

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