Strong defense propels Iowa women’s basketball to victory

Iowa secured its first top-25 win of the season in style by crushing No. 12 Michigan, 89-67.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa Guard Caitlin Clark releases from the corner during a women’s basketball game against Michigan on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 at Carver Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wolverines 89-67.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s basketball has established itself as an offensive machine this season. The Hawkeyes have the second best scoring offense in the nation and have had no problems scoring against even the best teams.

Iowa’s offense once again stepped up to the plate against Michigan in its 89-67 route over the Wolverines. Freshman guard Caitlin Clark stepped up to score 27, while sophomore Kate Martin and junior Monika Czinano put up 15 points apiece.

Iowa shot 59.3 percent from both the field and from the 3-point line and was shooting as well as 70 percent at one point in the third quarter.

What separated tonight’s game from many other top-25 encounters this season was the Hawkeyes defense. Iowa held Michigan to 67 points and never allowed Michigan to get back into the game after its strong start.

“I think tonight our communication was on a different level,” Clark said. “We were moving harder, and overall that’s why we played great defense. I thought they had to take a lot of tough shots and they were taking a lot of shots at the end of the shot clock.”

Coming into the game one concern was Michigan’s Naz Hillmon. The junior from Ohio has been a headache for teams to play against all season, averaging 25.8 points per game this season and being a consistent presence in the paint.

On Thursday night, the Hawkeyes held her to just below her season average at 24 points. It looked like Michigan could make a run back as Czinano and McKenna Warnock were at three fouls in the third quarter.

Luckily for the Hawkeyes, freshman center Sharon Goodman stepped up to the plate and put in a great performance to help the Hawkeyes.

RELATED: Rapid Recap: Iowa women’s basketball knocks off No. 12 Michigan

“I thought Sharon played so well,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I told her after the game you just went up against one of the best post players in America and did a really good job.”

Goodman has been getting minutes off the bench for most of the season, but her 15 minutes tonight was the most she had played in Big Ten competition. She finished with 10 points, three rebounds, and a block and a steal.

Going up against a player like Hillmon was an honor for Goodman, but going up against a player like Czinano in practice helped equip her for tonight’s battle.

“It’s an honor to be able to go up against those people, Goodman said.” And being able to hold my ground when Monika needed it and the team needed was special for me.”

Iowa held Michigan to shoot just 35.6 percent from the floor and 21.1 percent from the 3-point line. A lot of Michigan’s points ended up coming in garbage time when Iowa was ahead by as many as 30. The Hawkeyes managed to stay physical and impose themselves with six steals and a couple of blocks.

The win over No. 12 Michigan was Iowa’s first win over a ranked Big Ten team this season and will be significant in boosting the team’s tournament resume.

Iowa travels to play Wisconsin on Sunday. Tipoff is at 2 p.m., and the game can be seen on FS1.

Facebook Comments