116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Hopkins. Wayzata. Roseau. Chaska. Eden Prairie.
And so on and so forth.
The Minnesota women’s basketball team has truly become the MINNESOTA women’s basketball team.
“(Coach) Lindsay Whalen has gone to recruiting (Twin Cities) metropolitan kids and has succeeded,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said.
They are native. And they are young. Really, really young.
Four freshmen and a sophomore are likely to fill out the starting lineup with the Gophers (5-4 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) face No. 16 Iowa (7-3, 1-0) Saturday.
Tipoff is 8 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena (BTN).
“They have all of the parts,” Bluder said. “They’re really, really talented, but they’re young and they haven’t put it together yet.
“They’re going to be very, very good in the future.”
Five Minnesota players are averaging in double-figures, and four of them — led by Mara Braun, at 19.1 points per game — are freshmen.
The Hawkeyes’ time, meanwhile, is now. Bluder has employed the same starting crew for three years — junior All-American guard Caitlin Clark and four seniors (including fifth-year player Monika Czinano).
Unless the teams collide in the Big Ten tournament, Saturday’s matchup will be the lone Czinano-vs.-Czinano matchup of the season.
Monika is in her final year in what has been a decorated career at Iowa. She is 75 points from the 2,000-point plateau in her career; only three Iowa players have reached that mark.
Younger sister Maggie Czinano is getting good playing time for the Gophers this season. The 6-foot sophomore has played in eight games, averaging 5.3 points and 15.7 minutes per contest.
“Their dad (Gyula) is going to sit in the Minnesota section,” Bluder said. “Their mom (Theresa) is going to sit in the Iowa section, and they’re both going to be mic’d up by BTN.”
Iowa has won seven straight against the Gophers, including a sweep last year — 105-49 in Minneapolis, 88-78 in Iowa City (the Hawkeyes 12th straight win over the Gophers at Carver).
The Hawkeyes suffered two minor mishaps in fluky fashion at the end of their win over Iowa State on Wednesday: Gabbie Marshall lost a tooth, and Kate Martin turned an ankle walking off the floor.
Bluder said Friday that “Kate is good to go, and Gabbie’s tooth has been replaced.”
The 8 p.m. weekend tip is a rarity which “allows the kids to sleep in Saturday, which isn’t all bad,” Bluder said.
“When you get to the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA, you don’t know when you’re playing. You’ve got to be ready for all times and all time zones.”