Iowa women’s basketball freshman Addison O’Grady steps up

After backup center Sharon Goodman went down with an ACL injury, freshman Addison O’Grady filled the role behind starter Monika Czinano.


Grace Smith

Iowa forward Addison O’Grady goes up for a layup during an exhibition women’s basketball game between Iowa and Truman State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the bulldogs 102-32.

Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor

Iowa women’s basketball freshman Addison O’Grady didn’t expect to be the backup center for the Hawkeyes in her first season.

Throughout summer practices, O’Grady saw time both at power forward and at center. Head coach Lisa Bluder planned to use O’Grady as a power forward-center combo throughout the season, mainly because of her 3-point shooting abilities.

Then, about a month before the season started, backup center Sharon Goodman went down with an ACL tear — effectively ending her 2020-21 season before it even began.

After Goodman’s injury, the Hawkeyes had a lack of depth behind starting senior center Monika Czinano. While senior forward Logan Cook could pick up some minutes behind Czinano, it wasn’t enough to fill the void.

So, O’Grady switched her preseason training to focus solely on the center position.

“I think it’s been going pretty good,” O’Grady said. “I mean, all the girls have really helped me just improve my game and then coach [Jan Jensen] has really helped me in the post, just getting quicker shots and being more confident.

“Monika especially [has helped me],” O’Grady said. “She’s so good. Playing against her on the defense and then getting to go up against her is a challenge, but I think it’s making me better.”

Associate head coach Jan Jensen specifically focuses on working with the center position, and has coached former Hawkeyes Megan Gustafson, Czinano, and Cook through their Iowa careers.

O’Grady has also learned from Czinano, and the veteran center has seen marked improvement in the freshman since she switched to the post during the offseason.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Czinano said. “She just, I mean, this whole preseason, she’s been working on playing the five, working on more physical moves. Coach [Jensen] has been working with her a lot. So no, I’m not surprised at all. It was just fun to kind of see it all come to fruition and just fully pay off for her.”

Throughout the first four matchups of the season, O’Grady has averaged 10 minutes per game. O’Grady has 15 total points on 6-of-17 shooting, along with 13 rebounds.

RELATED: Iowa women’s basketball cancels three games

The 6-foot-4 freshman out of Aurora, Colorado, is still getting used to the college game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Bluder said, although she’s seen good progress out of O’Grady in the first games of the season, there are still things she needs to work on.

The head Hawkeye added that the development of O’Grady, and other Hawkeye freshmen Sydney Affolter and AJ Ediger, is the reason Iowa plays its early-season games against non-Power Five schools.

“I think she’s gone in and done some good things,” Bluder said. “I think she still needs to be comfortable with the offense. Sometimes, I think that she doesn’t know what to do but shoot. And she’s a very good shooter, but I think she also has to understand how to work within the offense a little bit better.”

Iowa women’s basketball had to cancel three games against Drake, Seton Hall, and USC over Thanksgiving because of positive COVID-19 tests within the program. The Hawkeyes are slated to return to the court at Duke in Durham, North Carolina, on Dec. 2 for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

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