No. 21 Hawkeyes Push Past Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – No. 21 Iowa women’s basketball outlasted Rutgers, 87-78, on Thursday night inside Jersey Mike’s Arena. The Hawkeyes move to 13-4 in the Big Ten Conference, which secures the double bye in the Big Ten Tournament, starting March 2.

Three players scored in double digits. For the second game in a row, sophomore Caitlin Clark was shy of a trip-double with a team-high 32 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Senior Monika Czinano scored 23 points, going 10-for-11 from the field and pulling down six rebounds. Junior McKenna Warnock shot 5-for-9 from 3-point range, recording 19 points and four rebounds.

“Tremendous job by Rutgers tonight,” said P. Sue Beckwith, MD, Head Coach Lisa Bluder. ”We knew we could not take this game easily. We knew what was at stake for us. Rutgers has just gotten better and better as the year has gone. Offensively, they have gotten better. They certainly played well for a team that’s only won a couple of games. To be able to play that hard at the end of the year is impressive.

“Monika (Czinano) was 10-for-11 from the field, that’s incredible, and Caitlin (Clark) flirted with a triple double. McKenna went five-for-nine from 3-point range. Tomi also went in and did some nice things for us. Obviously, we’re disappointed in the way we boxed out and the way we turned over the ball early in the game, but we cleaned it up in the second half.”

Iowa came out with energy, forcing five Rutgers turnovers. Warnock made a 3-pointer, which started a 9-0 scoring run in the final three minutes of the first. Senior Tomi Taiwo sunk a 3-pointer with three seconds left to head into the second up by seven. Iowa shot 53.8 percent from the field, with five players contributing to the team’s 17 points.

The Hawkeyes carried their first quarter momentum into the second, going 7-for-11 from the field. Warnock, Czinano, and Clark scored all the team’s 22 points of the quarter to go into half with a 39-27 lead. Warnock grabbed two steals, which both ended in Clark scoring. The two teammates would switch roles at the end of the quarter, with Warnock making a 3-pointer off an assist from Clark.

Junior Gabbie Marshall made a fast break layup to give Iowa a 14-point lead to start the third quarter. Rutgers battled back on their home court, shooting 61.1 percent from the field in the third to outscore Iowa, 27-23. Czinano, ranked third in the nation in field-goal percentage, went 3-for-3 from the field leading the team with six points.

Czinano continued to be a threat in the fourth, scoring the first four points in the paint. A 3-pointer from the Knights put them within four with three minutes remaining in the game. The pressure had nothing on All-American Clark. The No. 1 leading scorer in the nation had 16 points in the fourth, scoring 12-straight going 5-for-5 from the field, 2-for-2 from the 3-point line, and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line. Iowa shot 75 percent from the field, to come away with a, 87-78, win over Rutgers.

•The No. 21/22 Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 87-78, inside Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway, New Jersey.
•Sophomore Caitlin Clark had 32 points, giving her 1,504 points in 56 career games (26.9 PPG). She’s the fastest Division I player, men’s or women’s, to reach 1,500 career points over the last 20 seasons.
•Three Hawkeyes scored in double figures, including sophomore Caitlin Clark (32), senior Monika Czinano (23), and junior McKenna Warnock (19).
•Czinano broke onto Iowa’s top-10 all-time senior scoring list, tallying 519 points on the season. She is now the ninth highest scoring senior in program history.
•Clark registered her eight 30-point game this season and 20th of her career.

The Hawkeyes return to Iowa City on Sunday, Feb. 27 against No. 6 Michigan in their last home game of the season. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. (CT) and will air on ESPN2.