Iowa women’s basketball honors deep ties with Drake, former Hawkeye Megan Meyer

Hawkeye head coach Lisa Bluder coached at Drake for 10 years, and she returned to the Knapp Center to lead Iowa to a 92-86 overtime win on Sunday.


Grace Smith

Drake forward Grace Berg and guard Megan Meyer help up Iowa guard Caitlin Clark during a basketball game between Iowa and Drake at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs in overtime, 92-86.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

DES MOINES — Head coach Lisa Bluder has deep ties to the Drake women’s basketball program. The 22-year Hawkeye head coach was the Bulldogs’ leader from 1990-2000, compiling a 187-106 record. 

Iowa associate head coach Jan Jensen played and coached under Bluder at Drake from 1987-2000. Jensen, along with special assistant to the head coach Jenni Fitzgerald, followed Bluder to Iowa in 2000. 

Bluder also tried to bring former Bulldog player and coach Lisa Brinkmeyer to Iowa. But Brinkmeyer refused, Bluder said, because of her love for Drake.

“I hired her to be an assistant coach here at Drake, and I tried to get her to come over to Iowa with me, but she was Drake all the way through,” Bluder said. “So, she wasn’t going to come over there with me.”

Iowa associate head coach and former Drake basketball player and coach Jan Jensen walks off the court after winning a basketball game between Iowa and Drake at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. Jensen is one of two Bulldogs to have her number retired in the Knapp Center. In her senior year at Drake, Jensen averaged 29.6 points per game. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs in overtime, 92-86. (Grace Smith)

Brinkmeyer, who is battling brain cancer, was honored between the first and second quarters of Iowa’s game against Drake at the Knapp Center in Des Moines. Bluder, Jensen, Drake head coach Allison Pohlman, and the Drake women’s basketball team wore shirts that read “Brink’s Bench” throughout the game.

“The reason everybody wants to honor her, respect her is because she gave so much to everybody else,” Bluder said. “ … She’s just an unbelievable human being, and the least we can do is be there for her.”

The Hawkeyes pulled out a 92-86 overtime win over the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon. The Hawkeyes and Bulldogs were knotted at 82 at the end of regulation, and Iowa outscored Drake, 10-6, over the five-minute overtime period. Iowa now leads the series, 29-25, over Drake.

The Hawkeyes’ victory also came with a reunion with former Hawkeye women’s basketball player Megan Meyer. 

Meyer played at Iowa from 2019-21, competing in 40 games and averaging 2.3 points per game. Meyer transferred to Drake ahead of the 2021-22 season, and she became the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year. 

This season, Meyer is averaging 12.1 points per game, topping the Bulldogs’ leaderboard. She scored 11 points against the Hawkeyes on Sunday.

“It was a little awkward at first, but not in a bad way at all,” Meyer said. “It was good to see all those familiar faces and fun to compete against them, just knowing they love me and I love them, and the mutual respect was there. It was just really fun to have two great teams go at it on the court,”

Hawkeye junior point guard Caitlin Clark said she, along with the rest of the team, was close with Meyer while she was at Iowa. 

While Clark said it was fun to see Meyer, both of them put their game faces on when the whistle sounded.

“It was fun, she was out there smiling,” Clark said. “There were a couple times that she came up to me, and it was just kinda fun. Megan is a tremendous player. It’s been really cool to watch her here and really thrive. She was really, really close to our team, a really good friend to all of us.

“When you have one of those situations, when you step on the court, our game faces are on,” Clark added. “Megan wanted to win, we wanted to win, but at the end of the day we gave her a big hug and told her we’re proud of her, and from here on out, we’re a big fan of Megan Meyer.”

The Hawkeyes, the No. 4 team in the nation, went to overtime against the Missouri Valley Conference Bulldogs, but Clark thought this display of in-state basketball is good for the state.

Drake sold out the Knapp Center on Sunday, and half of the attendees were Iowa fans. 

“The environment was insane, I felt like there was a ton of Hawk fans here, so we’re really thankful for that,” Clark said. “The Hawkeye fans really showed out and supported us, and if people don’t think women’s basketball in the state of Iowa is very good, they just have to come to a game like this.”

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