Iowa women’s basketball to face familiar foe Creighton in second round of NCAA Tournament

The Hawkeyes and Bluejays play in a closed scrimmage prior to every season. Now, they’ll match up for a trip to the Sweet 16.


Grace Smith

Iowa guards Kate Martin, Caitlin Clark, and Gabbie Marshall listen to a question during the 2022 NCAA Second Round women’s basketball pre-game press conferences for No. 2 Iowa and No. 10 Creighton at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, March 19, 2022. Clark said playing Creighton in previous scrimmages is an advantage going into the matchup tomorrow, but both teams have improved their games. “we’re a completely different team than we were then,” Clark said, “having a lot more games under our belt.”

Dawson Moore, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s basketball is facing a familiar team in the second round of the NCAA Tournament — Creighton.

The Hawkeyes and Bluejays have played each other in a closed scrimmage every October for around the past eight years at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said Saturday.

“They’re close, and they’re also willing to come here, and they’re really good,” Bluder said. “So, it gave us an opportunity to play somebody close by in a scrimmage like that, and we’ve had a close relationship, so we’ve kept it going every year.”

According to NCAA rules, the preseason scrimmages cannot be open to the public nor can a box score be released. But the preseason scrimmages gives both teams an opportunity to get acclimated to the intensity of Division I play.

“I mean, it’s competitive, we treat it like it’s a real game,” Iowa sophomore point guard Caitlin Clark said. “We go through a scout, and we warm up like it’s a real game. I’m pretty sure it was a very competitive game, and we played a lot of different defenses and ran a lot of different sets. It’s kind of one of those things where you try different things out in the beginning of the year, but you know they’re a great team.”

RELATED: Creighton’s Lauren Jensen to play against former teammates in second round of NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament

Iowa and Creighton share similarities on the offensive end of the court, as both have an emphasis on sharing the basketball and a reliance on the 3-point shot.

Creighton leads the nation with 621 total assists in 2021-22. The Hawkeyes are second in the country with 609 assists. Senior guard Tatum Rembao leads the Bluejays with 6.1 assists per game, while Clark dishes out 7.9 assists for the Hawkeyes.

“I think they’re pretty similar to us in that way,” Iowa junior guard Gabbie Marshall said. “I think that contributes for them being able to shoot the 3 ball. That’s probably how they get their high assists. But I think they’re similar to us because we really value a great shot over a good shot and just having those high-assist games.”

Creighton is 10th in Division I women’s basketball, shooting 36.9 percent beyond the arc. The Bluejays revolve their offense around the 3-point shot, posting a five-guard offense.

Iowa is 25th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage. The Hawkeyes make an average of 35.5 percent of their shots from downtown.

“Creighton is a really good 3-point shooting team, and they play a lot of five-out, and you know they’re gonna shoot the ball a lot,” junior Kate Martin said. “They push the ball well in transition, and I think they’re similar to us in wanting to shoot the ball, but they don’t play as fast-paced as we do. We’re just getting prepared for that and we’re going to be ready to guard the three point line.”

The second-seeded Hawkeyes will tip off against the 10th-seeded Bluejays in front of a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena at noon on Sunday. The game will be televised nationally on ABC. The winner will head to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the Sweet 16.