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A peek ahead at the 2023-24 Iowa women’s basketball roster
Molly Davis will be back for a fifth year, meaning two of three other seniors (McKenna Warnock, Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall) would be eligible to return, as well
IOWA CITY — No, the Iowa Hawkeyes aren’t looking beyond Wednesday’s game.
That doesn’t mean none of us can.
So let’s peek, for a moment, to 2023-24. Specifically, the 2023-24 roster.
Coach Lisa Bluder was asked during Tuesday’s press conference about the status of this year’s four seniors, and their availability to play a fifth year (because of the 2020 COVID ruling), next year.
“I need to talk to those guys again,” Bluder said. “We talked at the end-of-the-year meeting (last year) about their decision if they want to come back.
“I do have an answer on some of them.”
But that answer, for now, will remain a mystery to the public.
Here’s what we know:
* Iowa has the maximum 15 players on scholarship this season. As a fifth-year player, Monika Czinano — the nation’s most accurate field-goal shooter two years running, and a 2,000-point scorer — will exhaust her eligibility at the end of the season.
* Two scholarship players are coming in: Kennise Johnson-Etienne and Ava Jones. The latter will not be ready to play, at least next year, due to massive injuries sustained in an accident July 5, two days after she committed to the Hawkeyes.
So, assuming no transfer-portal entrances or exits, that leaves as many as 16 candidates for the 15 roster spots. Four of them are three-year starters — McKenna Warnock, Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall. Another is Molly Davis, a senior transfer from Central Michigan.
“Molly is definitely coming back,” Bluder said Tuesday.
So that would mean that two of the other three seniors could do the same.
Warnock recently went over the 1,000-point mark for her career. Martin, widely considered the “glue” of the operation, would actually be at Iowa a sixth year if she returns (she missed the 2018-19 season due to a torn ACL).
Marshall is trying to rediscover her shooting stroke.
“Confidence is huge,” she said Tuesday. “I’ve struggled this year, but my teammates and coaches have done a great job of keeping me up. (Iowa men’s player) Payton Sandfort have told each other, ‘Just keep shooting.’”
Back to more immediate matters.
No. 12 Iowa (12-4 overall, 4-1 Big Ten) hosts Northwestern (6-9, 0-5) at 6:30 Wednesday night.
When you talk Northwestern, the first topic of discussion is the Wildcats’ “blizzard” defense.
“They run everywhere and wreak havoc,” Martin said.
Bluder said the blizzard “isn’t that fancy. I’m probably going to get (Wildcats Coach) Joe (McKoewn) in a little trouble ... he has marketed (the defense) to sell a lot of tapes and a lot of books.”
Veronica Burton had been the person of interest in the blizzard throughout her career, but has graduated. Now, it’s senior Sydney Wood.
Northwestern’s 0-5 Big Ten start comes with a caveat; four of the five losses have come against ranked teams.
“You don’t want to be the one that they beat,” Bluder said. “Odds are that they’re going to win one soon. They are too good of a team and Joe is too good of a coach for that not to happen.”