Iowa women’s basketball brings young team to Drake

The Hawkeyes will travel to Des Moines, Iowa, to take on the Bulldogs today at 6 p.m.


Casey Stone

Iowa Hawkeye Head Coach Lisa Bluder talks with the team during halftime in the Iowa Hawkeyes Women’s Basketball season opener against Northern Iowa on Nov. 25, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated Northern Iowa 96-81.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s basketball will travel to Des Moines tonight to play a 1-1 Drake team at 6 p.m. The game will serve as the 1-0 Hawkeyes’ 2020-21 road-opener.

“Traveling with the new [COVID-19] protocols in place is, I’m sure, going to bring up some issues,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “But I think it’s good we’re getting a road game before we enter into the Big Ten because it’ll prepare us. In less than two weeks we’re at Michigan State.”

With the help of Kathleen Doyle and Mackenzie Meyer, the Hawkeyes defeated Drake last season, 79-67. Now, Bluder will have to find a way to defeat the Bulldogs with a less experienced team.

“Again, we’re playing an experienced team with three seniors and a junior,” Bluder said. “I think that’s kind of going to be the trend for us all year, is that we have a little bit less experience, but that’s OK. That’s what happens.”

Just like Iowa, the Bulldogs lost three of their 2019-20 starters ahead of the 2020-21 season — Becca Hinter, Sara Rhine, and Brenni Rose. Hinter and Rhine were responsible for a great deal of Drake’s offensive production last season, as each notched over 2,000 career points.

The Bulldogs’ first two games of the season came on the road — a season-opening win against Creighton and a loss to Green Bay.

RELATED: Clark named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week

Bluder said she will have keep an eye on Bulldog senior Maddie Monahan and sophomore transfer Grace Berg tonight, if the Hawkeyes are to leave Des Moines with a win.

Bluder stressed that Monahan’s 3-point shooting and veteran leadership coupled with Berg’s versatile skillset can rapidly impact the outcome of a game.

Iowa freshman Caitlin Clark will likely have a target on her back after her impressive 27-point outing at Carver-Hawkeye Arena against Northern Iowa. Clark’s efforts were rewarded Monday as she was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week.

“Obviously, [Clark’s] going to have a target on her back now, we know that,” Bluder said. “It’s going to get harder for her, as you play and as you move into the Big Ten, but also as she gets identified on scouting reports. You could say ‘Oh, she should’ve been identified right away’ but at the same time, with a freshman, you never know. You never know how they’re going to transition to college games.”

For Clark, there will be a sense of homecoming on Wednesday night. The West Des Moines, Iowa, native grew up attending Drake women’s basketball games. Clark even received a scholarship offer from Drake before she committed to Iowa.

“My dad would always take us, and [Drake] would always have that little blimp that flies around at halftime and drop stuff from it,” Clark said. “I definitely know the arena and the area, and I’m excited to go play there.”

Clark added that she played with many Drake women’s basketball players growing up in Des Moines, so the court she’s playing on and the town she’s playing in won’t be the only facet of familiarity for Clark tonight.