Warnock posts double-double in Iowa women’s basketball’s semifinals win

The sophomore had 17 points and 11 rebounds against Michigan State.


Kate Heston

Iowa’s McKenna Warnock (14) stares down an opponent during a semifinal game of the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament. Iowa, ranked No. 6, took on No. 7 seeded Michigan State in Indianapolis at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse Friday afternoon. The Hawks beat the Spartans, 87-72, advancing the Hawks to take on Maryland Saturday in the Big 10 finals. (Kate Heston/The Daily Iowan)

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — Sophomore McKenna Warnock struggled to contribute scoring wise in the past two games for Iowa.

Friday against seven-seeded Michigan State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, Warnock found her way to 17 points and 11 rebounds after combining for nine points the previous two nights. Her performance helped sixth-seeded Iowa to an 87-72 win that sends the team to the championship game against No. 1 seed Maryland Saturday.

Warnock made the second basket for Iowa off a 3-pointer with 7:08 left in the first quarter. She hit another 3-pointer with 3:41 remaining in the quarter.

“She got some 3’s early for us which was really fun,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “And then the rebounding again. She did a great job rebounding at their place. She had 12 rebound at their place and then 11 tonight. Happy to see her have a really good game.”

The forward didn’t do much against 11th-seeded Purdue Wednesday with four points and four rebounds.  But she got 12 rebounds against No. 3 seed Rutgers in an upset victory. The scoring options opened for her in Iowa’s third game of the tournament.

“I kind of saw my first 3 go down which was obviously very promising,” Warnock said. “So that was really nice to see but I was just getting good passes from my teammates and everyone came up to me, believed in me. The previous games it wasn’t a big deal. The other girls were stepping up. Gabbie [Marshall] had a hot game last night. We wanted to give her the ball then.”

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The Marshall, Wisconsin, native finished the first half with seven points and six rebounds. She came in clutch in the fourth quarter has the Hawkeyes flew away from the Spartans and denied a comeback attempt from them when she had seven points in the final frame.

She made a second chance layup and the ensuing free throw with 8:07 left in the game to give Iowa a seven point lead. She made two free throws late in the game to help seal it way and had also had three rebounds in the final quarter.

The Hawkeyes had all eight players that played score Friday.

“It’s awesome seeing so many people contribute in the scoring column,” Caitlin Clark said. “Again, that’s why I think we’re playing so well and doing so well and getting these wins. But McKenna is one of the best shooters on our team. I think her 3-point field goal percentage is the best on our team. So, we have confidence in her. We just want her stepping it up and knock it down every single time.

“But she does a lot of the dirty work. She’s in there getting pounded every single night, getting rebounds for us and that doesn’t always get recognize. So, credit to McKenna getting in there and always getting things done down low.”

With Iowa focusing on playing a team game, Warnock’s main focus is to win the game no matter what she has to do. That will be vital against No. 1 seed Maryland, and that game is at 1 p.m. CST on ESPNU.

“Well, we have amazing scorers on our team obviously,” Warnock said. “Caitlin Clark, Monika Czinano, everyone else can shoot amazing. Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall have had their nights. So, honestly, it’s not always about scoring for me. What I can do to contribute is what I can do to contribute.”

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