Iowa women’s basketball freshman Hannah Stuelke stresses importance of free-throw shooting in victory over Nebraska

The Hawkeyes scraped out a four-point victory over the Huskers on 18-of-22 free-throw shooting on Saturday afternoon.


Grace Smith

Iowa forward Hannah Stuelke 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. Stuelke scored 10 points and played for 14 minutes and 27 seconds. The Hawkeyes defeated the Jaguars, 87-34.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

Iowa women’s basketball always stresses the importance of free throw shooting.

And in No. 10 Iowa’s 80-76 win over Nebraska on Saturday afternoon, shots from the charity stripe made a big difference. The Hawkeyes, who shot just 2-of-14 from the field in the fourth quarter, scrounged a out a victory by shooting 18-of-22 from the free throw line.

“We just took a lot of hard twos today that weren’t falling for us,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “And you know, obviously, you only score two buckets in the last 10 minutes and  thank goodness for the free throw line because we did a good job there. A really good job there.”

Junior guard Caitlin Clark went to the free throw line most frequently on Saturday afternoon, going 10-of-12 from the charity stripe.

But Clark thought freshman Hannah Stuelke, a 48 percent free throw shooter on the 2022-23 season, was the one who made the biggest difference on Saturday.

“Hannah was 4-for-5 today, so it’s pretty awesome,” Clark said. “She’s someone that’s been really working at it so you know, that really pays off. Those matter at the end of the game when you only win by four points.”

Saturday was Stuelke’s best free-throw shooting day so far this season with an 80 percent mark — but that doesn’t come without practice.

“I shoot free throws every single day until I can’t shoot them anymore,” Stuelke said. “Every day, before practice, after practice, until I make at least 10 in a row.”

The 6-foot-2 freshman is first off the bench for the Hawkeyes to replace both the power forward and the center.

“Everybody can see what an amazing athlete she is, and terrific basketball player, and human being,” Bluder said on Jan. 11. “At the start of this year, we really had her pegged at the power forward position, and then started exploring the opportunity of playing her at both the 4 and the 5. And that’s where she is now, first in at both the 4 and the 5, and I think you can see what a great job she does at both of those positions.”

Stuelke has been getting more playing time in the absence of forward McKenna Warnock, who suffered an injury against Michigan State on Jan. 18. She’s has missed two straight games with a ribcage injury, and although Bluder said Warnock is day-to-day, she doesn’t have a timeline for her return.

Stuelke didn’t take Warnock’s spot in the starting lineup. Molly Davis, who has starting experience from three years at Central Michigan, is starting in Warnock’s place in a four-guard lineup.

But Stuelke still sees ample playing time — she recorded 21 minutes against Nebraska, three minutes off her season-high, on Saturday with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting.

“I think I’ve made a lot of progress,” Stuelke said. “I used to get more antsy and turn the ball over, and I’m trying to calm down more, focus on the game, and the game has slowed down a lot.”

Stuelke will put her newfound free-throw skills to the test again on Thursday against No. 10 Maryland. The Hawkeyes and Terrapins will tip off at 7:30 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Facebook Comments