Iowa women’s basketball set for showdown with No. 10 Indiana in Bloomington

The Hawkeyes have a chance to add a quality road win over the Hoosiers to their postseason résumé today.


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

As February has ended and March has begun, much of the women’s college basketball world has turned its focus to the postseason with the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments tipping off over the next two weeks.

Iowa women’s basketball, however, can’t turn the page just yet. The Hawkeyes still have two regular season games left on their schedule — one road game against Indiana March 3 and a home matchup with Nebraska March 6.

Iowa and Indiana last met Feb. 7. The Hoosiers dealt the Hawkeyes an 85-72 loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena that day, even after Iowa led by as much as nine.

Clark scored 30 points in the loss while junior center Monika Czinano contributed 16 more.

Indiana will ride a hot streak into its rematch with Iowa today, having won 11 of its last twelve and seven-straight.

“I know that we can play better than we did the first time we played them, and I’m really excited for this matchup,” Hawkeye head coach Lisa Bluder said. “This is what Big Ten basketball is all about.”

The results of Iowa’s last two regular season games could prove paramount when the Hawkeyes are assigned a seed for the NCAA Tournament March 15.

After an 89-67 upset victory over then-No. 12 Michigan last week, Iowa is now projected to be an eight seed by ESPN.

Iowa’s wins over Michigan and Wisconsin late last week also helped it break into the top 25 of the NCAA NET rankings.

The Hawkeyes are the second-best team in the nation in scoring offense, according to the NCAA, and freshman point guard Caitlin Clark has been the engine that has helped Iowa score at a high rate all season long.

Through 21 contests this year, Clark has averaged nearly 27 points and seven assists per game.

Clark aside, the Hawkeyes still have lots of weapons they can turn to for big buckets.

“We have so many weapons offensively,” Bluder said. “We have the ability to hurt you in a variety of ways. That includes inside with Monika Czinano leading the country in field goal percentage, and then being one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the country with a variety of people.” 

With Czinano anchoring the Hawkeyes’ post offense, guards like Clark and sophomores Kate Martin, Gabbie Marshall, and McKenna Warnock round out Iowa’s perimeter game.

In total, Iowa has shot 41.2 percent from 3-point range in 2020-21 — good for third in the nation per the NCAA.

While some believe experience is the most pivotal attribute a team can possess in the postseason, Hawkeye head coach Lisa Bluder thinks youthful teams can also make impactful runs in postseason tournaments.

“Everyone likes experience, but sometimes youth isn’t a bad thing either,” Bluder said. “They’re naive, and they don’t know what they don’t know, and sometimes that can be a good thing.”

Tipoff between Iowa and Indiana is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. The game will air on the Big Ten Network.