Final Four notebook | Gabbie Marshall works through cold, Hawkeyes bring a piece of Christine Grant to national championship

While the senior guard wasn’t available for interviews on Saturday, she’s still preparing to play in the national championship.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa guard Gabbie Marshall eyes the ball during a 2023 NCAA women’s Final Four game between No. 1 South Carolina and No. 2 Iowa at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, March 31, 2023. Marshall completed two assists. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gamecocks, 77-73, to advance to the National Championship Game.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

DALLAS — Iowa women’s basketball freshman Hannah Stuelke sat at the podium in place of starting senior guard Gabbie Marshall on Saturday morning at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

In what was supposed to be breakout sessions with the five starters, Stuelke was the odd one out — she’s not planning to start in Sunday’s national championship.

“She’s just got a cold,” Stuelke said of Marshall’s absence. “She can’t really talk right now.”

Marshall also missed the Hawkeyes’ postgame locker room press conferences after Iowa took down South Carolina, 77-73, on Friday night. Iowa sports information said Marshall was with a trainer on Friday night, and she’s still planning to start the title game on Sunday.

Marshall didn’t record any points on Friday, but she had a strong defensive effort, racking up three steals.

Hawkeyes bring piece of Christine Grant to national championship

Christine Grant’s dream was to see Iowa women’s basketball make it to a Final Four.

Grant, who was a pioneer for women’s sports at Iowa and around the world, died in December 2021. The women’s sports advocate not only made an impact on the Hawkeye women’s programs but on women’s athletics as a whole, testifying in front of Congress multiple times to defend Title IX’s athletic impact.

Grant has hired every women’s basketball head coach at Iowa, including Lark Birdsong, C. Vivian Stringer, Angie Lee, and Lisa Bluder.

Now, the Hawkeyes have a piece of former Hawkeye women’s sports administrator Christine Grant with them in Dallas this week. This week, Birdsong gave Bluder one of Grant’s yellow sweaters. The v-neck sweater was a staple of Grant’s wardrobe, Bluder said, and the Hawkeyes cherished the gift.


“One of the wishes of Dr. Grant was that she could see me, our team, in a Final Four,” Bluder said. “The way they thought they could do that was by giving a piece of Dr. Grant, which was a sweater she wore. If you knew Dr. Grant, she wore these sweaters that were of Scottish wool quite a bit, v-necks, and she gave me a yellow one yesterday that Dr. Grant wore. I passed it around the circle yesterday, let everybody feel it and get a piece of Dr. Grant’s DNA.”

Bluder sends condolences to Iowa City, Johnson County residents after storm

Johnson County was hit with a large storm on Friday night ahead of Iowa’s Final Four game, sweeping through Solon, Coralville, and Hills.

Multiple tornadoes touched down in Coralville near Highway 6, destroying homes in the area. Tens of thousands of people were also without power on Friday night.

“I just want to put my condolences to everybody in Iowa City,” Bluder said following Iowa’s victory on Friday night. “We had some really bad tornadoes go through there this afternoon, a lot of damage. I don’t know if anybody’s hurt, but certainly we’re thinking about everybody back home.”

A tornado also touched down near Bluder’s house in Solon, destroying some properties and businesses. While her home wasn’t affected, one of her favorite places in town was.

“My favorite Mexican restaurant got its roof taken off,” Bluder said on Saturday. “My house is fine, according to my neighbors. So we’re happy about that. We’re very blessed. Again, a lot of people were without electricity last night and didn’t get to see this great game, which is unfortunate.”

Crews are heading out to the affected areas to continue cleanup on Saturday.