No. 9 Iowa women’s basketball falls to No. 3 UConn in Phil Knight Legacy Tournament

The Hawkeyes could not hold on to an 11-point lead in the third quarter and lost to the Huskies, 86-79.


Matt Sindt

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark brings the ball down the court during a women’s basketball game between Iowa and Belmont at Carver Hawkeyes Arena in Iowa City on Sunday Nov. 20, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bruins 73-62.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

No. 9 Iowa women’s basketball blew a double-digit lead to No. 3 UConn on Sunday afternoon in the Phil Knight Legacy Championship Game in Portland, Oregon. The Hawkeyes lost to the Huskies, 86-79, to move to 5-2 on the season.

The Hawkeyes led by 11 points at the 6:30 mark of the third quarter. But UConn outscored Iowa, 51-38, throughout the second half to take the victory. 

Although associate head coach Jan Jensen saw good things out of her team on Sunday, she thought the Hawkeyes were out of their element in the second half.

“It was a good battle, but I think we got a little fatigued in the second half,” Jensen said on the Hawkeye Radio Network. “We went away from some of the things that were working for us, and [UConn’s] 11-0 run killed us, and we never could quite recover.”

Four Hawkeyes finished the game in double figures — guard Caitlin Clark led all scorers with 25, guard Kate Martin recorded 20, forward McKenna Warnock registered 14, and guard Gabbie Marshall had 10.

Fifth-year senior center Monika Czinano was the only starter to not finish in double figures. Czinano, who averages 17.3 points per game, only had eight points on 3-of-7 shooting.

“We’ve gotta figure out Monika,” Jensen said. “She only got seven shots on the day, and she missed three that she doesn’t normally miss … We have four people in double figures and Monika’s not one of them.”

Big picture

Iowa has played UConn twice in the Caitlin Clark era, and the Hawkeyes have lost both times. 

The Hawkeyes and Huskies first played in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament in San Antonio, Texas. The Huskies beat the Hawkeyes, 92-72, to advance to the Sweet 16.

Jensen said that, even though the Hawkeyes fell to the Huskies again on Sunday, the smaller margin of defeat shows the strides Iowa has made over the past two seasons.

“I thought [head coach Lisa Bluder] did a great job of talking about the things we could’ve controlled,” Jensen said of Bluder’s postgame speech to the Hawkeyes. “But she also said, ‘This isn’t about winning today. This is about getting us ready for a March run.’

“They have to use this disappointment, as this confidence,” Jensen added. “And now, where do we take this? We know what we’ve done competing against supposedly one of the top 4-5 teams in the country.”

Hawkeyes can’t contain Azzi Fudd

UConn sophomore guard Azzi Fudd, who is the Huskies’ leading scorer with 26 points per game, only had two points in the first half.

She came to life in the second half, finishing the game with 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting. 

“I just wasn’t me in the first half,” Fudd told ESPN’s Holly Rowe postgame. “ … My coaches and teammates kept saying, ‘Just shoot the ball, one will go in.’”

Martin finds 3-point shot

Hawkeye senior guard Kate Martin was unstoppable from 3-point range on Sunday afternoon. 

Martin went 6-of-6 from the 3-point line and 7-of-10 from the field against UConn for a career-high 20 points. Sunday’s game marked the first time Martin has scored in double figures this season.

Martin also had two steals and two assists against UConn.

Up next

Iowa will return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday to take on No. 13 NC State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. 

The Wolfpack are 6-1 on the season. Their only loss came to UConn on Nov. 20.

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