Monika Czinano, Kate Martin’s consistency help Iowa women’s basketball claim Big Ten Tournament title

The Hawkeye captains combined to score 44 points in Iowa’s title-winning victory over Indiana on Sunday.


Gabby Drees

Iowa guard Kate Martin shoots the ball during a basketball game between No. 2 Iowa and No. 5 Indiana during the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Sunday, March 6, 2022. Martin bucketed 14 points. The Hawkeyes beat the Hoosiers 74-67.

Dawson Moore, Sports Reporter

INDIANAPOLIS — Iowa women’s basketball needed consistency to win the Big Ten Tournament title. The Hawkeyes found it in senior center Monika Czinano and junior guard Kate Martin.

Second-seeded Iowa took down No. 5 Indiana, 74-67, in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game on Sunday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Czinano scored 30 points on 9-of-12 shooting. She also grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double in the title game.

The center out of Watertown, Minnesota, bucketed over 20 points in all three of the Hawkeyes’ games in the Big Ten Tournament. She scored 21 against Northwestern in the quarterfinals on Friday and 22 against Nebraska in the semifinals on Saturday.

Czinano has been one of the Hawkeyes’ most efficient players in 2021-22, averaging 21.1 points per game and leading the country with a 67.6 field goal percentage.

Czinano had the task of going up against Indiana center Mackenzie Holmes on Sunday night. Holmes finished the night with 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting.

“I think she showed why she’s one of the best posts in America,” head coach Lisa Bluder said of Czinano on Sunday. “She is going against another one. Mackenzie Holmes is so good, and we have so much respect for her. I just think Monika is so special inside and very, very talented. As far as her footwork, her hands, her ability to score from underneath. She’s a special kid, and I’m glad she’s in a Hawkeye jersey.”

Martin, the Hawkeyes’ two-year captain, has long been described as the “glue” that holds the Hawkeyes together. On Sunday, she scored 14 points against the Hoosiers, along with a season-high eight assists, to help seal the Hawkeyes’ victory.

On Friday, Martin scored a season-high 15 points against Northwestern to get the Hawkeyes out of the quarterfinal round.

“I’ve been saying this all year, she’s the glue,” Bluder said. “She is the person that keeps this team together, she’s our captain. She is the person that cares for everybody, and looks out for everybody. She’s the one that works extremely hard, and I am so happy for her because I thought she played so well this tournament.”

Iowa’s defense of the 3-point line was also a consistent factor of the weekend. The Hawkeyes allowed an average 3-point percentage of 20.7 this weekend, while holding the Hoosiers to 21 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

“I think stopping the three point line was the biggest thing for us, and that’s exactly what we did,” sophomore point guard Caitlin Clark said.

The Hawkeyes secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with their Big Ten Tournament title. 

According to ESPN analyst Charlie Creme’s bracketology, Iowa is projected as a three seed in the NCAA Tournament and will host the first two rounds of games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The 2022 NCAA Tournament Selection Show will take place on March 13 at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN.