Iowa women’s basketball senior center Monika Czinano to return for fifth season

With Czinano’s return, all five of Iowa women’s basketball’s starters will come back for the second straight season in 2022-23.


Grace Smith

Iowa center Monika Czinano high fives forward AJ Ediger as Czinano’s name is announced before a women’s basketball game between No. 8 Iowa and Southern University at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Czinano played a total of 23 minutes and 48 seconds. The Hawkeyes defeated the Jaguars 87-67.

Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor

Iowa women’s basketball senior center Monika Czinano announced on Twitter Sunday that she will be returning for her fifth season of eligibility in 2022-23. 

Czinano, who hails from Watertown, Minnesota, joined the Hawkeye women’s basketball program in 2018. As a freshman, she played behind former Hawkeye Megan Gustafson in the 2018-19 season, and took over the starting center position in 2019-20.

“Being a Hawkeye has been one of the greatest privileges of my life, not only because of basketball but also because of the people that have surrounded me with love and support,” Czinano said in a video posted to her Twitter. “ I’m really excited to see where the remainder of the season takes us because we’ve still got a lot to prove. With senior day approaching, people have been asking me a lot of questions and I wanted to clear the air. These have been the best four years of my life, so why switch things up now? I’ll be back again next year.”

Czinano has earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in both her sophomore and junior seasons in 2019-20 and 2020-21, respectively. 

She led the Big Ten with a 67.9 shooting percentage in 2019-20 and ranked second nationally. In 2020-21, Czinano was tops in the nation with a 66.8 field goal percentage. 

Czinano ranks third in the nation with a 64.9 field goal percentage so far in 2021-22. She currently ranks 12th all-time in Hawkeye women’s basketball 1,572 career points.

With Czinano coming back for 2022-23, the Hawkeyes will likely be returning all five starters for the second straight season. Iowa’s starting five will boast four seniors — Czinano, guards Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall, and forward McKenna Warnock — and junior Caitlin Clark in 2022-23.

Iowa women’s basketball finished 20-10 overall in 2020-21, including a trip to the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game and the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

The NCAA gave all 2020-21 student-athletes an extra year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing Czinano to play a fifth season with the Hawkeyes.

The Hawkeyes will carry three centers in 2022-23: Czinano, junior-to-be Sharon Goodman, and sophomore-to-be Addison O’Grady.

Goodman is out for the 2021-22 season with an ACL tear. O’Grady has appeared in 24 games so far this season, averaging four points and 2.71 rebounds per game.

The Hawkeyes are currently 17-7 with an 11-4 Big Ten record in 2021-22. Czinano and the Iowa women’s basketball team will take on No. 5 Indiana on Monday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. 

Iowa will host its final home game of the season on Feb. 27 against Michigan. The Hawkeyes will honor senior guard Tomi Taiwo and forward Logan Cook.