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

Addison O’Grady plays crucial minutes, gives Angel Reese ‘fits’ in Iowa’s Elite Eight win over LSU

O’Grady used her length to limit Reese as much as possible.
Grace Smith
Iowa center Addison O’Grady and LSU forward Angel Reese fight for a spot in the lane during an NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game between No. 1 Iowa and No. 3 LSU at the Hilton Hotel in Albany, N.Y., on Monday, April 1, 2024. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers, 94-87.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Last year, Addison O’Grady’s name was called in the national title game when Monika Czinano got in foul trouble.

On Monday night, it was the same story against the same opponent — LSU and arguably the best post player in the country Angel Reese.

Starter Hannah Stuelke was whistled for her first personal foul 43 seconds into the game against the Tigers and eventually fouled out with 1:20 left in the contest. Although Stuelke still played the most minutes of Iowa’s post players, O’Grady’s presence posed challenges for Reese, who ended the night with 17 points and 20 boards before fouling out with 1:45 left on the clock.

“She came in, and she brought the size that I don’t have, and I think it gave Angel some fits,” Stuelke said of O’Grady.

To prepare the post players to go to battle against Reese in the paint, Iowa’s AJ Ediger said one of the team managers, Tanner, played “super physical” against them in practice. O’Grady said before the Elite Eight she was going to have to be the “most aggressive version” of herself against the Tigers, although she added the challenge facing Reese is more mental than anything else. O’Grady said she thought her length helped make things harder for Reese.

“I was just trying to push her off the block as much as possible because she’s really lethal when she gets you pinned down really close under the basket,” O’Grady said about guarding Reese after the win. “So you’re trying to force her to take more outside shots because that’s not necessarily the best part of her game and really focusing on boxing out.”

O’Grady said her experience playing in last season’s NCAA Tournament helped build her confidence. She also gave credit to associate head coach Jan Jensen for her continued encouragement. Ediger said Jensen is “very open and communicative” with her post-players and makes sure they’re “mentally prepared.”

When it comes to head coach Lisa Bluder, she doesn’t want her post players to worry about being undersized, something the Hawkeyes have dealt with all year. Instead, she wants players like Stuelke, Ediger, and O’Grady to “use what [they] do have.”

“Do you have speed? Do you have agility? Do you have hops? Use those things instead of focusing on, ‘I wish I was four inches taller,'” Bluder said.

For Sharon Goodman, who was typically the first to sub in for Stuelke at the beginning of the season but has played just 27 minutes in the last 13 games, seeing her roommate O’Grady succeed “brings her so much joy.” Goodman prides herself in being a good teammate and still “the same person that [she] feels like [she’s] called to be.”

“She’s my best friend, so we spend a lot of time together. Even though we’re in the same position, it’s just so fun to see her out there and doing well,” Goodman said. “The time that I’ve seen her since, like, my sophomore year to now, it’s just been really exciting to see how she’s grown her confidence and worked on it”

There was a nine-game stretch from early December to the start of the new year when O’Grady averaged under 3.5 minutes per game, but she always stayed ready to contribute.

“Coach [Jensen] keeps saying that you never know when your number is going to get called,” O’Grady said. “I just wanted to do whatever I could to help this team, and now we’re in the Final Four.”

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About the Contributors
Kenna Roering
Kenna Roering, Sports Editor
Kenna Roering is The Daily Iowan's sports editor. She is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism with a minor in sports and recreation management. Kenna previously worked as a sports reporter for men's wrestling and volleyball and was the summer sports editor in 2023. This is her second year with the DI.
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
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.