Hawkeye fans gather to celebrate ‘Iowa Women’s Basketball Team Day’

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague proclaimed April 14 to be ‘Iowa Women’s Basketball Team Day’ during a season celebration on the Pentacrest.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa women’s basketball players Caitlin Clark and Monika Czinano celebrate after Iowa City mayor Bruce Teague declares April 14 to be Iowa women’s basketball day during the Iowa women’s basketball celebration on the Pentacrest in Iowa City on Friday, April 14, 2023.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

As Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague declared April 14 as Iowa Women’s Basketball Team Day, junior guard Caitlin Clark jumped out of her chair.

“Let’s go!” she yelled, hugging center Monika Czinano as the crowd cheered.

“The athletic performance and leadership and spirit of the women’s basketball team has contributed to the growth of the fanbase and Iowa Athletics brought joy to thousands of fans and has become a point of civic pride in the Iowa City community and beyond,” Teague said on Friday afternoon on the Pentacrest, reading his proclamation. “Now therefore, I, Bruce Teague, Mayor of Iowa City, do hereby proclaim April 14, 2023, to be Iowa Women’s Basketball Team Day.”

Bruce’s proclamation was a part of a public celebration that Iowa Athletics held for the women’s basketball team on Friday.

Hawkeye women’s basketball had a historic season in 2022-23, making its second appearance in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four — first since 1993. In the Final Four, Iowa took down then-defending national champion South Carolina, breaking the Gamecocks’ 42-game win streak and advancing to the national championship game for the first time in program history.

Iowa fell in the title game to LSU, 102-85, at American Airlines Center in Dallas to end the season. The Hawkeyes finished 31-7 in 2022-23 — a program-record number of wins.

But the Hawkeyes said they couldn’t do it without their fans.

“I got off the bus, and I had tears in my eyes again,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I have shed a lot of tears of joy this month. Some of sadness, but mostly of joy. I’m so thankful for all of you, so thankful for you all coming out tonight to celebrate with us. But thank you for your support all season long. It has been a historic year for our program, no doubt, and I can’t think of making history with anybody else but you guys.”

Fans started lining up on the Pentacrest hours before the celebration. As the time got closer to 5:30 on Friday afternoon, the Pentacrest filled in its entirety. Iowa athletic director Gary Barta estimated the crowd to be near 10,o00 people.

The Hawkeye faithful has followed the women’s basketball team throughout the postseason — fans made the Target Center seem like “Carver North” for the Big Ten Tournament, sold out the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and traveled to Seattle and Dallas to make the arenas “Carver West” and “Carver South,” respectively.

“We do have the best fans in America,” Barta said. “And this crowd today — we’ll probably have an official estimate, but I’m going to call it 10,000. Who’s going to doubt me, who’s going to prove me wrong?”

Fans watched as confetti rained down on the Hawkeyes multiple times — both after winning the Big Ten Tournament and the Seattle 4 Regional after the Elite Eight.

So, associate head coach Jan Jensen wanted to return the favor. As Iowa’s coaches sang “ring, bling, confetti, we ready” — a rap they made up before the Big Ten Tournament title game — piece of yellow confetti rained onto the crowd at the Pentacrest.

“As fans, one of the most incredible moments that any team ever experiences is when you get to cut down that net, and when you get to feel that excitement, and when you get to feel that confetti rain down,” Jensen said. ” … You’re going to experience a little bit of confetti.”