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From ‘1’ through ‘5,’ Iowa ‘RUNS IN TRANSITION’
Colorado coach: Hawkeyes’ speed, from guards to posts, is ‘unheard of.’
SEATTLE — Iowa is a unique women’s basketball team, but you already knew that.
JR Payne spelled it out, divulging her pregame scouting report on the Hawkeyes.
“Every single player had RUNS IN TRANSITION next to their name,” Payne said after the third-ranked Hawkeyes outran her Colorado squad, 87-77, in an NCAA tournament regional-semifinal encounter Friday night at Climate Pledge Arena.
“A lot of times, teams will have one or two kids that can really get out and beat you down the floor. Every single one of (the Hawkeyes) had transition clips of them by themselves at the basket in transition.
“I mean, that's unheard of.”
It’s that transition game that endears the Hawkeyes to fans and drives opponents batty.
Friday, it ignited a 13-0 third-quarter run that put the Hawkeyes in command for keeps.
“It's just a really fun way to play basketball, and it's kind of why I came to Iowa,” fifth-year post Monika Czinano said. “There's a lot of reasons why I came to Iowa, but it's just so ... the style of basketball we play is just so much fun for people to watch and to play.”
Czinano was a freshman reserve post behind Megan Gustafson in Iowa’s last Elite Eight appearance, in 2019. Kate Martin was on the roster, redshirting in her first year due to a torn ACL.
“This is definitely more special to me,” Martin said. “Being able to contribute, really contribute.
“I’m proud of this team, the way we’ve stayed together. We’ve had lofty goals since before the season started.
“We’re unshakable. We stay composed.”
Four Iowa starters played 36 minutes or more Friday. Czinano was the exception, logging 28 just minutes due to foul trouble.
It was Addison O’Grady, not Hannah Stuelke, who got the bulk of the backup time.
Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said that Stuelke’s ankle — which kept her out of the second-round win over Georgia — isn’t a problem.
Stuelke will be available when the Hawkeyes (29-6) face Louisville (26-11) in the Elite Eight on Sunday.
“It was really more of a situation where I thought she was getting buried in the post position,” Bluder said. “She's a freshman, and that's a lot of pressure on a freshman. But she's more of a finesse ‘4’ and ‘5’ than like a (Czinano) type of ‘4’ and ‘5.’
“And that's why I went with Addi. With a little more height, a little more girth.”