No. 10 Iowa women’s basketball travels to East Lansing, looks to sweep state of Michigan

The Hawkeyes will take on a floundering Spartan team on Wednesday at the Breslin Center.


Darren Chen

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark drives to the rim on the court during a women’s basketball game between Iowa and Northwestern at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats, 93-64.

Sam Knupp, Sports Reporter

The 10th-ranked Iowa women’s basketball team is coming off three consecutive wins as it heads to East Lansing to take on Michigan State on Wednesday.

And head coach Lisa Bluder said it is her team’s goal to sweep the state of Michigan. The Hawkeyes picked up their first road win against Michigan since 2014 on Jan. 7.

Michigan State sits 2-5 in conference play, coming off three straight losses. The Spartans are led by sophomore Matilda Ekh and graduate student Kamaria McDaniel who average 12.9 and 14.3 points per game, respectively.

Ekh plays on the Swedish National Team, stands at 6-foot, and shoots 41.2 percent from the 3-point arc. Bluder said Ekh has a quick release when shooting, which makes her a difficult player to guard.

Bluder also gave props to McDaniel for her quickness, along with senior point guard Moira Joiner and sophomore DeeDee Hagemann for their shooting ability.

The Spartans like to press on defense and put up threes on offense, Bluder said. For the Hawkeyes to overcome the Spartans’ press, Bluder said her players will have to stay composed, take care of the ball, and not play how Michigan State wants them to.

“Sometimes when teams are pressing, they can kind of take you out of your own rhythm or take you out of your offense a little bit,” Bluder said.

Iowa has won four of the past five meetings with Michigan State. The Spartans won 86-82 the last time the Hawkeyes traveled to East Lansing on Dec. 12, 2020.

The Spartans have been a challenge to prepare for, Bluder said, because of their up-and-down results. Michigan State has dropped games against Purdue and Wisconsin, which both sit in the bottom half of the Big Ten, but also picked up a win against No. 6 Indiana.

“They seem to play to the level of their competition,” Bluder said.

On the Hawkeye end, the Iowa City outfit has been hot. Iowa took a nine-point win at No. 14 Michigan, then blew out Northwestern by 29, and shellacked Penn State by 41.

“I just think it’s really the point where their confidence is really growing,” Bluder said. “And they’re really comfortable playing with each other.”

Senior guard Kate Martin, however, went out with an injury in the Hawkeyes’ game against the Nittany Lions on Saturday. Bluder said she will be back for Wednesday’s game.

The Hawkeyes have also improved their bench play recently, as both sophomore Sydney Affolter and freshman Hannah Stuelke finished Saturday’s game against Penn State in double figures.

The game will tip off at the Breslin Center at 6 p.m.

Following Wednesday’s game, Iowa will travel to Columbus to take on the second-ranked, Big Ten-leading Buckeyes on Monday.