Iowa women’s basketball shares scoring in Big Ten Tournament semifinal win over Maryland

Five Hawkeyes scored in double digits on Saturday, with seniors Gabbie Marshall and McKenna Warnock securing season-highs of 21 points each.


Matt Sindt

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark runs with the ball during a women’s basketball game between No. 7 Iowa and No. 5 Maryland at Target Center in Minneapolis on Saturday, March 4, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins, 89-84. Clark scored 22 points and had 9 assists.

Colin Votzmeyer, Sports Reporter

MINNEAPOLIS — The Iowa women’s basketball team advanced to the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game after defeating Maryland, 89-84, at the Target Center on Saturday.

The second-seeded Hawkeyes — who defeated the seventh-seeded Purdue Boilermakers, 69-58, on Friday — battled the third-seeded Terrapins until the final buzzer.

The Hawkeyes shared scoring across all five starters: junior guard Caitlin Clark had 22 points, seniors Gabbie Marshall and McKenna Warnock shared season-highs of 21 each, and fifth-year senior center Monika Czinano and senior Kate Martin scored 15 and 10, respectively.

“You can take away me and Monika, but when the other three play like they did and we have people coming off the bench and contributing, there’s only so much you can do,” Clark said. “I think our confidence level of what we have now is really good. We’ll welcome any defense that any team wants to bring at us.”

The Hawkeyes facilitated their way to 24 assists on 31 made field goals and 12 turnovers. Clark and Martin had nine and seven assists, respectively, and Martin grabbed nine rebounds. 

“We’ve always tried to be a high assist team,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We’re always talking about giving up a good shot for a great shot. When you have Caitlin Clark on your team, some of those passes are simply amazing, quite honestly. Then tonight Kate had seven assists too, so that was fabulous, but I love the assist-to-turnover ratio tonight.”

Marshall shot 7-for-13 from deep, and Clark — who was named a Wooden Award finalist on Saturday — followed with 5-of-13 from deep.

Iowa fans — who cheered so much that Bluder dubbed the Target Center as Carver-Hawkeye Arena North — made their presence known again as they filled the arena with black and gold.

“The first thing I want to talk about is the amazing fans we had here again,” Bluder said. “It’s just amazing how the Hawkeye fans have shown up … We want to bring people joy. That really is what this team is all about.”

Sharing the wealth

Multiple Hawkeyes had stake in the first quarter.

Clark drilled three 3-pointers on three shots, finishing the quarter with nine points. Czinano finished her teammates’ dishes down low, Martin hit an early and-one in the paint, and Marshall opened her scoring with a corner three. 

The Terrapins capitalized on the Hawkeyes’ five personal fouls in the first quarter, but the Hawkeyes forced six turnovers for 11 points and went into the second quarter with a 26-18 lead.

Martin finished another and-one layup, making the free throw as well, to start Iowa up in the second. Iowa and Maryland then went back and forth, but Iowa took the edge — Marshall banged three more 3-pointers and Clark one.

Still, the Terrapins would not shy away. While the Hawkeyes went on a scoring drought, the Terrapins went on a 10-0 run. Maryland won the second quarter, 24-21. 

Clark hit the floor hard on a charge but walked away unscathed, finishing with 16 in the half for a 47-42 Hawkeye lead at halftime. 

Takeaways from turnovers

Warnock took the reins for the Hawkeyes in the third as she scored nine points on 3-of-6 from the field, but the Terrapins just slightly outpaced them. 

Maryland shot 7-for-18 from the field in the quarter to Iowa’s 5-for-16 and again won the quarter, 19-17. Marshall drilled her fifth 3-pointer and the Hawkeyes led the game, 64-61, going into the fourth quarter.

“The veteran team that we have, we’ve been through it,” Marshall said. “It’s a long game. They’re going to go on runs, we’re going to go on runs, and we have to stick together. Our circle is tight because we’ve been playing together for so long, so that’s helped.”

Patience was key for Iowa in the fourth. The Hawkeyes took their time in possessions, finding open shooters in Warnock and Marshall for 3-pointers after the Terrapins’ turnover woes returned. 

Iowa scored nine of their 25 fourth quarter points off of four Maryland turnovers to grow the lead, but nine Iowa fouls allowed Maryland to stay persistent and shoot 10-for-12 from the charity stripe. 

The Terrapins tied the game at 79 with two minutes left, and a Marshall 3-pointer off of a Warnock rebound inched the Hawkeyes closer to a win before a Czinano layup put the Hawkeyes up five. 

Although the Terrapins would not go away, the Hawkeyes had a one point lead before Warnock iced the game with free throws to send Iowa through to the final.

“I hope it gives them confidence,” Bluder said. “I thought that the team … came out and executed very, very well today.”

Up next

In their third consecutive conference championship game appearance, the Hawkeyes will rematch the fourth seed Ohio State Buckeyes — who defeated top-seeded Indiana, 79-75, on Saturday — on Sunday at 4 p.m.

The two squared off once this season on Jan. 23. The Hawkeyes took down the then-undefeated Buckeyes, 83-72.

“In one week, we experienced the lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs, but it’s what you’re going to do to move on,” Clark said. “You can’t celebrate this for too long. The biggest thing is understanding if we want to reach our goals, you can’t get too hung up on one game, good or bad.”