By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Now they count.
The University of Iowa women’s basketball team opens the regular season Thursday, hosting Florida Atlantic at 6:30 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Head coach Lisa Bluder met with media Tuesday to preview the game. Here are a few takeaways.
Good Vibes from Exhibition
The Hawkeyes cruised in the exhibition, posting a 98-53 victory over Division II Winona State. Eleven different players scored, including three freshman.
“I like some things we saw,” said Bluder. “This time of year, the players are getting corrected a lot. It’s good for them to have success and feel good about it. They did after that game. We know it’s a Division II opponent, we understand that.”
Senior Kathleen Doyle wasn’t surprised by sophomore Monika Czinano’s production in Iowa’s exhibition victory. In her first game in the starting lineup, Czinano was perfect, finishing 13-for-13 for a 27-point night.
“Monika is a hard worker,” said Doyle. “She had to practice against Megan (Gustafson) every day last year, and Hannah (Stewart). Don’t forget about that duo, it’s not just Megan, it was Megan and Hannah every day in practice. She saw how hard they worked. Monika works hard, so I am not surprised by it. She has worked hard for it.”
Bluder will make a change to the starting lineup against the Owls, inserting senior Amanda Ollinger into the starting five in place of redshirt freshman Kate Martin. Martin will be the first player off the bench.
“Amanda looked so good this summer,” said Bluder. “She missed a lot of practices early on, so it was our decision to not start her in the exhibition. She’s one of our best rebounders and we need her in the game for that.”
Miss 1,000… Really?
Doyle was surprised when she was asked a question about needing just seven points to join the Hawkeyes’ 1,000-point club.
“Cool, I wasn’t aware of that. I don’t think of that stuff,” said Doyle. “The same thing happened in high school, I didn’t find out until a day after that I had gotten my 1,000th point. My coach told me on the bus. It was in state semifinals and they told us on way to state championship.
“I focus on doing what I can to help the team win. That’s cool, but I mainly care about the game and doing what I can to help the team.”
Tickets are available for Thursday’s game at hawkeyesports.com/tickets. The game will be streamed on BTN+ and broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network with Rob Brooks and Jamie Cavey Lang on the call.