The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa women’s basketball notebook | No. 4 Hawkeyes back home following three-game road trip to Florida

Iowa will host Bowling Green on Saturday after being crowned Gulf Coast Showcase champions over the weekend.
Iowa+guard+Molly+Davis+dribbles+to+the+basket+during+a+basketball+game+between+No.+2+Iowa+and+Kansas+State+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+in+Iowa+City+on+Thursday%2C+Nov.+16%2C+2023.+Davis+played+for+21+minutes+and+shot+3-of-3+in+field+goals.+The+Wildcats+defeated+the+Hawkeyes%2C+65-58.
Grace Smith
Iowa guard Molly Davis dribbles to the basket during a basketball game between No. 2 Iowa and Kansas State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. Davis played for 21 minutes and shot 3-of-3 in field goals. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes, 65-58.

The No. 4 Iowa women’s basketball team will be back in action at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this weekend to face off against the Bowling Green Falcons.

The Hawkeyes are coming off of a successful trip to Estero, Florida, to take part in the Gulf Coast Showcase. After beating Purdue-Fort Wayne and Florida Gulf Coast in the first two rounds, Iowa matched up against Kansas State in the championship contest — for the second time this season as the Wildcats handed the Hawkeyes their first loss of the year on Nov. 16. 

Despite a late-game comeback by the Wildcats in the fourth quarter, Iowa exacted its revenge upon Kansas State, escaping with a 77-70 win behind a 32-point performance by star Caitlin Clark, who was named the MVP of the tournament.

During Wednesday’s media availability, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said the team’s ball movement has improved since that first loss to K-State, contributing to a more efficient offense.

“I thought it was a very rewarding trip to Florida,” she said. “I’m very happy with the way we bounced back to avenge a loss [earlier in the season to Kansas State].” 

Iowa fifth-year guard Molly Davis earned All-Tournament honors alongside Clark, averaging seven points and four assists during the three games — including scoring 13 points in the championship despite her undersized stature compared to the 6-foot-6 Wildcat center Ayoka Lee. 

Bluder said the honor has boosted team morale. 

“Molly has been in and out of our starting lineup, playing anything we wanted her to, and she’s just fearless,” Bluder said. “She looks like this quiet, nice person, [but] she has a sneaky moxie about her, and I’m just really thankful she’s on our team.” 

This week, Iowa’s attention moves on with the Bowling Green Falcons coming to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes are facing a 5-1 Bowling Green team on a four-game winning streak over Xavier, Mercer, Lehigh, and Duquesne.

The Falcons are led by guard Lexi Fleming, who is averaging a very solid 16.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Fellow guards Amy Velasco and Morgan Sharps are also averaging more than 13 points per game.

“They have three really good shooters,” Bluder said of the Bowling Green backcourt. “I think that’s the strength of their team.”

Iowa has been without starting forward Hannah Stuelke for the last two games after she sustained an injury to her lower right leg against Purdue-Fort Wayne. 

Bluder didn’t get into the specifics of Stuelke’s injury but said she is doubtful she will be ready for Bowling Green this weekend, hoping she will instead suit up against Iowa State next week but again noting that is to be determined.

Bluder praised guard Kate Martin for showcasing her versatility during the last two games as Stuelke was sidelined, playing the center position against Lee, which could be another option should Hawkeye forwards get into foul trouble again this weekend. 

In fact, Bluder thought Martin — who recorded an 11-point, 10-rebound performance in that championship game against Kansas State — could have also been on the all-tournament team for the weekend. 

“[Kate] played extremely well,” Bluder said. 

And Clark is only 46 points shy of reaching 3,000 points scored as a Hawkeye. 

If she doesn’t get it against the Falcons, Bluder confirmed she would not try to contain Clark from scoring during the following road games to get her to break the threshold at home. 

“We’d love to see her get that [at home], but I think it’d be pretty cool too for her to get it against Iowa State too,” Bluder said. “That’s not something I really focus on, and I don’t think she really does either.”

Instead, the focus remains on Saturday — and on trying to extend the Hawkeyes’ record to 8-1 before rivalry week.

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About the Contributors
Cooper Worth, Pregame reporter
(he/him/his)
Cooper Worth is a Pregame Reporter for The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication. He is also earning a minor in communication studies and an entrepreneurial management certificate. This is his third year at the DI, previously serving as a News Editor and as a News Reporter covering local government in Johnson County for the DI. Cooper interned for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa during the summer of 2023 as a general news reporter.
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
she/her/hers
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.