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 to open Big Ten play at Wisconsin

The Hawkeyes have won the last 27 meetings between the two.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark shoots the ball during a women’s basketball game between No. 7 Iowa and Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. Clark made 9-of-12 field goals. The Hawkeyes defeated the Badgers, 91-61.

The No. 4 Iowa women’s basketball team is set to open Big Ten play against the Wisconsin Badgers inside Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

The Hawkeyes are coming off of a 67-58 win over the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames on Wednesday, in which neither team shot fabulously, but Caitlin Clark finished with 35 points and guard Kate Martin with 16.

But what impressed Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder the most about the contest was her team’s defensive effort in such a rowdy environment. 

The Cyclones did not make a three in the second half, and Iowa State star center Audi Crooks did not make a field goal in the third or fourth quarters. 

“I thought that we played very well defensively; I was extremely happy with our defense again,” Bluder said. “I think that’s a really difficult place to play, and I thought we handled the adversity of them coming back on us [and taking the lead] and handled that momentum really well in a tough place.”

And the sold-out Kohl Center this weekend could be just as energetic, although Bluder noted how a good deal of Hawkeye fans still fill the crowd three hours northeast of Iowa City.

Madison is not unfamiliar territory for Bluder.

She often recruits out of the state, including last year’s key forward and now-graduate McKenna Warnock from Madison and two commits next season in Teagan Mallegni of McFarland and Taylor Stremlow of Verona — who Bluder is going to watch play this weekend.

This time around, Bluder said she wanted to see a wider-spread scoring effort and for the team to come closer to the 20-assist mark in the game.

“Caitlin is going to do Caitlin things, and she’s going to do whatever it takes for us to win a game,” Bluder said. “I’m very happy about that. That’s something you want out of a star player like that … [But] people have to make themselves available for shots, and people have to take shots when they’re available.”

The Badgers have not historically been a solid women’s basketball program, last securing a winning season in 2011, and the Hawkeyes have won the last 27 meetings.

But Wisconsin is 5-3 overall this season, dropping its first home game to Butler on Sunday. 

Badgers forward Serah Williams earned a double-double in the matchup, though, scoring 24 points to go with her 14 rebounds, and she leads the Big Ten in blocks. 

But Bluder noted a need to maintain focus on Wisconsin’s perimeter shooters as well and not too much on the second-year post player.

“They’re very balanced in scoring; I think any time a team is balanced like that they’re harder to defend,” Bluder said. “Anybody can hurt you, and I think that’s what concerns you about a team like Wisconsin is you’re all focused on Williams, but any of those other people can hurt you.”

And despite a Wisconsin roster with 10 underclassmen, the Badgers are holding opponents to just 34 percent from the field this season, thus demanding the Hawkeyes find good looks and hit open shots to add another win to the win column before another away game in Des Moines next weekend.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Colin Votzmeyer, Assistant Sports Editor
Colin Votzmeyer is a junior at the University of Iowa studying journalism and mass communication with minors in history and criminology, law, and justice. Prior to his role as assistant sports editor, he previously served as digital producer, news reporter covering crime, cops, and courts, and sports reporter covering track and field and women's basketball. He plans on attending law school after his graduation with hopes of pursuing a career as a criminal defense attorney.
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.