INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For the first time in program history, Iowa women’s basketball won the Big Ten regular season and Tournament titles sweeping No. 5 seed Indiana, 74-67, on Sunday night inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
“I’m just incredibly grateful,” P. Sue Beckwith, MD, Head Coach Lisa Bluder said. “When you get to do what you love to do, where you want to do it, with the people you want to be around, it’s just the most amazing feeling. I’m just so thankful for these women. I’m thankful for the support that we get all the time from our university, from our administration. To beat (Indiana) three times in a couple of weeks is really hard to do. They’re a really good basketball team.”
Monika Czinano recorded her third season and fourth career double-double after scoring 30 points and pulling down 10 rebounds to lead the team. The senior center was selected by the media to the All-Big Ten Tournament team along with sophomore Caitlin Clark, who also was named tournament MVP. Clark, scored 18 points and had seven rebounds against the Hoosiers. Redshirt junior Kate Martin added 14 points and recorded a season-high eight assists.
“This team has done a tremendous job of really enjoying last Sunday but at the same time putting that behind us,” said Clark. “Coming into this Sunday, I wanted to do it all over again with confetti this time. We didn’t have confetti at home. We had 15,000 fans but we didn’t have any confetti. This is an incredible feeling for us to be the first Iowa women’s basketball team to be regular season champs and Big Ten champs. You can say we’re hitting our stride at the right time. Monika was tremendous tonight. Kate stepped up huge these last couple of games.”
It was a four-quarter battle for the Hawkeyes and Hoosiers. In the first 10 minutes of play, the teams kept the score within six the whole first quarter. Czinano went to work, scoring 10 of the team’s 18 points. Martin swooshed a 3-pointer and put up a layup in the last minute to go into the second with an 18-16 lead.
Czinano went 3-for-3 from the field, with Martin assisting on all three in the second. Clark added to the quarter stats, leading the team with seven points, and Martin and senior Tomi Tawio both scored two. Indiana scored the last five points of the quarter, but Iowa kept the lead going into halftime, 35-33.
"This is an incredible feeling for us to be the first Iowa women's basketball team to be regular season champs and Big Ten champs. You can say we're hitting our stride at the right time."Caitlin Clark
The Hoosiers came out of halftime on a roll, scoring the first six points to give them a five-point lead. Junior McKenna Warnock scored her first two points of the game to regain the lead. Freshman Addison O’Grady grabbed an offensive rebound for an easy put back, giving Iowa a 51-48 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
With the Championship title in sight, Iowa kept their eye in the prize shooting 66.7 percent from the field in the fourth. Czinano shot perfectly from the field, going 4-for-4 and leading the team with 10 points. Indiana remained in the game, making a 3-pointer with two minutes left to come within three. The Hawkeyes would sink pressure free throws in the end to come away with their third victory over Indiana in a 17-day period.
- Coach Bluder broke Sharon Versyp’s (Indiana, Purdue) record for most career-tournament wins with 26 in her career.
- Senior Monika Czinano registered her third season and fourth career double-double, registering 30 points and 10 rebounds. Czinano recorded her third 30-point game of the season.
- Sophomore Caitlin Clark and redshirt junior Kate Martin each tallied double-figure scoring with 18 and 14, respectively.
- Czinano and Clark both rank on the Iowa Top-10 scoring list with 1,718 (9th) and 1,620 points (10th).
- Clark was named Big Ten Tournament MVP and earned a spot on the All-Tournament team along with Czinano.
- Martin assisted a season-high eight assists.
The Hawkeyes advances to their 28th NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The selection show takes place on Sunday, March 13 at 7 p.m. (CT), and will be aired lived on ESPN.