Iowa women’s basketball looks to balance playing time against NC State and Wisconsin

The Hawkeyes have been heavily using their starters, as all five of them averaged over 32 minutes in the past two games.


Grace Smith

Iowa guard Kate Martin shoots a 3-pointer during a women’s basketball game between Iowa and Southern University at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Jaguars, 87-34.

Sam Knupp, Sports Reporter

Despite split results over the weekend, the Iowa women’s basketball team is confident heading into games against NC State and Wisconsin this week.

Iowa traveled to Portland, Oregon, for the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament. Iowa won the first game against Oregon State, but lost to No. 3 UConn in the final on Sunday.

In both games, the Hawkeyes’ starters got the lion’s share of playing time, as all five played at least 32 minutes in each game. The only bench player to exceed 10 minutes in a single contest was senior transfer Molly Davis, who played 13 against Oregon State.

On Wednesday, head coach Lisa Bluder said she’ll need to get more playing time for inexperienced players if the Hawkeyes are going to truly have depth.

“I need to do a better job of getting people in the games, and it needs to happen early. It can’t happen in the second half or the fourth quarter…” Bluder said. “When you’re dealing with younger players, you’re always a little bit more nervous because you don’t know how they’re going to respond. But that’s the only way they’re going to learn.”

Despite the loss, senior guard Kate Martin said Sunday’s game against UConn acted as a confidence boost for her going into Thursday. Martin put up 20 points against the No. 3 team in the nation and shot 6-for-6 from beyond the arc.

“It’s just nice to show other teams that I can knock down a shot, too,” Martin said, “So, other teams will have to respect us a little more.”

NC State has 10 players averaging more than 12 minutes. Diamond Johnson, its leader in playing time, averages just 25.9 minutes per game.

The No. 12 Wolfpack sit at 6-1 on the season with their one loss coming against UConn, 91-69. On top of depth, Bluder said NC State has height, talented shooters, and rebounding ability.

“They’re a good driving team,” Martin said. “They’re good in transition as well. They really like to push the ball and they love going one on one.”

After NC State, No. 10 Iowa will go to Madison to take on 3-5 Wisconsin.

The Badgers are led by senior guard Julie Pospisilova, who is shooting over 40 percent from the arc, averaging 13 points per game, and Wisconsin’s second-leading rebounder with her six-foot stature.

Wisconsin is on a four-game losing streak, most recently dropping all three games at the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. Before the Badgers face the Hawkeyes, Wisconsin will host Florida State on Thursday.

Iowa’s trip to the Badger State will likely be Warnock’s final collegiate game in her hometown. Warnock is from Madison, Wisconsin, and played at Monona Grove High School.

“Everyone wants to play where they’re from, so I’m super excited,” Warnock said.