No. 21 Iowa women’s basketball vying for Big Ten regular season title against No. 6 Michigan

With a victory over the No. 6 Wolverines on Sunday, the Hawkeyes will clinch at least a share of the 2022 Big Ten women’s basketball regular season title.


Dimia Burrell

Iowa guard Tomi Taiwo drives to the basket for a layup. Taiwo went 6-7 from the field while scoring 14 points during a women’s basketball game between No. 25 Iowa and Illinois at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini, 82-56.

Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor

Both No. 21 Iowa and No. 6 Michigan women’s basketball will be playing for a conference regular season championship when they match up at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday.

The Hawkeyes and Wolverines will tip off at 3 p.m. in front of a sellout crowd. If the Wolverines win, they will be outright conference regular season champions. If the Hawkeyes win, they will hold the regular season title outright if the Ohio State Buckeyes lose to the Michigan State Spartans on Sunday.

If both the Hawkeyes and the Buckeyes win on Sunday, they will share the Big Ten regular season championship.

“That would be pretty incredible, obviously,” Iowa sophomore point guard Caitlin Clark said of winning the regular season title on Feb. 23. “With everything we’ve gone through this year, it really seemed like it had been a rollercoaster. Obviously, a lot of teams have dealt with a lot of that stuff too, but I think this ending speaks a lot to the Big Ten, and the power of the Big Ten.”

The Hawkeyes and Wolverines will meet for the second time in the 2021-22 season on Sunday. 

Iowa battled back from a 25-point deficit on Feb. 6 to get within five points of Michigan at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor. Ultimately, the Hawkeyes couldn’t complete the comeback attempt, falling 98-90.

Iowa was missing two of its starters, juniors Gabbie Marshall and McKenna Warnock, the first time it played Michigan. The Hawkeyes had just eight total players available.

“We played them at their place, and we were without two of our starters,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “And they were without one of theirs … We’re also very, very happy to have Gabbie and McKenna available for the game.”

Both Marshall and Warnock were injured in Iowa’s game against Ohio State on Jan. 31. Marshall returned on Feb. 9. Warnock was out until Feb. 19, missing four games in that span.

“We just had some really good games in between that timeframe when I couldn’t play, and those were games that I really wanted to be able to be a part of,” Warnock said. “I think our team was really resilient during that, and we had so many girls step up and they did an amazing job.”

After the loss to the Wolverines on Feb. 6, the Hawkeyes fell to fifth in the Big Ten women’s basketball standings. 

Since then, the Hawkeyes have rocketed near the top of the Big Ten standings. Iowa, at 13-4 in conference play, is currently in a tie for second place in the Big Ten with Ohio State and Maryland. Michigan tops the Big Ten leaderboard at 13-3.

A 2022 Big Ten regular season title is within reach for the Hawkeyes. But Warnock knows there is more to the Iowa women’s basketball program’s 2021-22 legacy than a regular season championship.

“It would be unbelievable,” Warnock said of winning the regular season title. “But if we don’t, it’s not the end of the world. I think as long as we’re playing our best basketball right now, leading into the Big Ten Tournament and NCAAs, that’ll be enough.”

Hawkeyes to honor Logan Cook, Tomi Taiwo in senior day festivities

Iowa women’s basketball will recognize seniors Logan Cook and Tomi Taiwo following its game against Michigan on Sunday.

Senior center Monika Czinano will not participate in the senior day festivities as she announced on Feb. 20 that she will return for a fifth year in 2022-23.

Taiwo and Cook both can play one more season of collegiate basketball, as the NCAA gave all 2020-21 student athletes an extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19. But the pair will not be returning to Iowa in 2022-23, Bluder confirmed on Feb. 23.

“[Cook and Taiwo’s] status is that they are eligible for an additional year due to COVID,” Bluder said. “But they aren’t going to be using that year here. Logan has expressed an interest in going to grad school somewhere and using her year of eligibility. Tomi has not yet, so we’ll see at the end of the year what Tomi’s plans are.”

Bluder said that she couldn’t offer Taiwo and Cook a scholarship for their fifth year if they decided to stay at Iowa. With Czinano returning on scholarship in 2022-23, Bluder said, there were not enough to cover Taiwo and Cook.

The Hawkeyes will likely have 14 scholarship athletes going into 2022-23.

“It’s kind of a weird situation with the COVID [year], and we kind of had to sit down and have those conversations with the players because I couldn’t bring them all back,” Bluder said. “I don’t have enough scholarships with three coming in and whatever is going to happen in the transfer portal.”