Iowa women’s basketball senior McKenna Warnock day-to-day ahead of matchup against undefeated Ohio State

The starting forward injured her ribcage against Michigan State on Wednesday night.


Grace Smith

Iowa forward McKenna Warnock passes the ball during a 2022 NCAA Second Round women’s basketball game between No. 2 Iowa and No. 10 Creighton in sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Warnock had four assists. The Bluejays defeated the Hawkeyes, 64-62, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

Iowa women’s basketball senior forward McKenna Warnock is day-to-day after suffering an injury against Michigan State on Wednesday night.

Warnock suffered a ribcage injury while absorbing a screen at the beginning of the third quarter of the Hawkeyes’ overtime victory over the Spartans in East Lansing, Michigan. She left the game and did not return.

“She definitely was [in pain],” assistant coach Abby Stamp said on the Hawkeye Radio Network on Wednesday. “She goes so hard, and she was doing a great job … she’s one that plays about the most minutes for us, she’s steady, so that throws us.”

Warnock has started all 19 of the Hawkeyes’ games this year and averages 29 minutes per contest — just behind junior guard Caitlin Clark’s 33-minute average. She’s the Hawkeyes’ third-leading scorer, averaging 11.9 points per game. 

In a press conference on Sunday, head coach Lisa Bluder did not specify Warnock’s status for Iowa’s game against Ohio State in Columbus on Monday night.

“Really, she’s a day-by-day,” Bluder said. “I don’t know if she’s doubtful for Monday, I really don’t know at this point, so I’m going to have to say day-by-day.”

If Warnock doesn’t play on Monday, Bluder is considering giving freshman Hannah Stuelke her first career start as a Hawkeye. Stuelke is first off the bench to replace both Warnock at the power forward position and fifth-year senior Monika Czinano at center.

Senior Kate Martin, who is a guard in the Hawkeyes’ starting lineup, could also shift over to the power forward position.

“The people that have replaced McKenna in the past are either Hannah or Kate Martin,” Bluder said. “Those are the people who have spent time at the power forward position for us.”

RELATED: Iowa women’s basketball survives overtime thriller against Michigan State

The Hawkeyes will travel to Columbus for their only regular season matchup against the Buckeyes, who are undefeated with a 19-0 overall and 8-0 conference record in 2022-23.

Iowa and Ohio State met just once in the 2021-22 season, and the Buckeyes left Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a 92-88 win. The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes shared the 2022 Big Ten regular season championship, but Iowa won the 2022 Big Ten Tournament crown. 

Iowa currently holds a 7-1 conference record and will tie Ohio State at the top of the Big Ten standings with a victory at Value City Arena in the Schottenstein Center on Monday.

Although the Hawkeyes know the magnitude of the game, they’re treating it like every other contest.

“It’s the same for every game, it doesn’t really matter who we’re playing,” Bluder said. “We want to be our best selves when we go into every single game. We don’t adjust that based on the opponent.”

Ohio State is also dealing with injury problems this season, as All-Big Ten first-teamer Jacy Sheldon has missed all but five games with a lower-leg injury. While Sheldon has a chance to return on Monday, Bluder said, the Buckeyes are still dangerous without her.

“Right now, without her, they have four people in double figures, which is really, really hard to guard,” Bluder said. “An excellent basketball team, but I think we’re playing pretty good basketball right now, so we’re going to do the best we can there.”

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