Iowa women’s basketball squeaks by Drake in noisy atmosphere

The Hawkeyes battled the in-state rival Bulldogs to a dramatic overtime win, 92-86, in Des Moines on Sunday.


Grace Smith

Drake forward Anna Miller goes up for a shot during a basketball game between Iowa and Drake at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. Miller played for 21 minutes and eight seconds. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs in overtime, 92-86.

Sam Knupp, Sports Reporter

DES MOINES — Iowa scraped out a 92-86 overtime win over Drake at the Knapp Center on Sunday.

A sellout crowd at the Knapp Center took up every one of its 7,500 seats and then some, creating a loud environment for both teams to play in.

“What an environment,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I mean, this was like an NCAA tournament environment, and to come in here and win on the road — I’m extremely happy with that.”

Drake fans barely outnumbered Iowa fans, and both sides made their presence felt.

The building stayed loud throughout the game, with fans going back and forth with chants of “Let’s go Drake” and “Let’s go Hawks.”

“I think it’s what you love in college athletics,” Drake head coach Allison Pohlman said.

Big Picture

Bluder only utilized eight of the 14-player roster on Sunday, with sophomore center Addison O’Grady only playing for five minutes.

Bluder said she will probably dig deeper into her bench in future close games, but it depends on what she sees in the team.

The win moves the Hawkeyes to 3-0 and acts as their first road win of the season.

Drake shoots well

Drake is the first team this season that has shot well against Iowa. The Bulldogs shot just under 50 percent from the floor, making 31-of-64 field goals.

Iowa’s first two opponents, Southern and Evansville, shot a combined 32-for-117 from the floor — 27.35 percent.

“All five of our players on the floor at all times are capable of scoring,” former Hawkeye and current Drake starter Megan Meyer said. “They’re capable of doing a lot of different things. So it’s hard for a team to pick and choose who they have to guard.”

While the Bulldogs did well finding the net, they also turned the ball over 23 times.

Meyer takes on her former team

Meyer, who played for the Hawkeyes from 2019-21, shot 4-for-12 on field goals and scored 11 points with four rebounds and two assists.

Her biggest pitfall, however, was that she still gave the ball to Hawkeyes, tallying five turnovers. 

Clark comes back home

Caitlin Clark, a West Des Moines native, had an up-and-down game in front of her hometown crowd on Sunday.

She put up 20 points with seven assists, but shot 9-of-28 from the floor and got into foul trouble, collecting her fourth foul with five minutes left in the game while Iowa had a 72-71 lead.

Monika Czinano catches fire

Fifth-year senior center Monika Czinano put up 36 points on the Bulldogs, shooting 14-for-21 from the floor. The fifth-year senior also drew 11 fouls and scored eight points off free throws, shooting 8-for-14 at the line.

“My teammates were hitting me in the best spots possible,” Czinano said. “They just had a bee line look at me every possession, so that’s obviously super helpful … I think that we just played a really good cohesive game of basketball today.”

Free throw shooting a weakness for Iowa

The Hawkeyes led the nation in free throws in 2021-2022, but they’ve struggled at the line in their past two games.

Iowa drew 23 fouls on Sunday but shot 17-of-30 at the line.

The free throw struggles acted almost as a sequel to Wednesday’s game against Evansville, in which Iowa shot 16-for-25.

Despite the recent struggles, Clark maintained that Iowa is a strong free throw shooting team.

“There was a couple that went in and out, that’s gonna happen,” Clark said. “But I think free throws are really all mental, stepping up to the line knowing that you can make that shot. And I think that’s just the biggest thing. We know we’re a great free throw shooting team and I’m sure in games going forward, we’ll show that.”

What’s Next

Iowa will travel to Manhattan, Kansas, to take on Kansas State on Thursday.

The Wildcats are 2-0 on the season with wins over Central Arkansas and Wisconsin.

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