116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Sports / Iowa Hawkeyes / Iowa Basketball
How Iowa women’s basketball juggles Final Four trip, academics
Monika Czinano’s evolution class has been especially supportive of the Hawkeyes
DALLAS — One minute, Addison O’Grady was catching up on lecture notes for her chemical engineering thermodynamics class.
Not long after that, Iowa’s backup center was answering questions from reporters ahead of Friday’s Final Four game.
“They’re both very demanding in their own ways,” O’Grady said. “But I do my best with it.”
O’Grady’s quick switch from thermodynamics to thorough quotes is symbolic of a balancing act Iowa women’s basketball athletes have needed to do as they balance being a Final Four athlete with being full-time college students.
“We’re definitely athlete-students right now,” fellow center Monika Czinano said, rather than student-athletes.
The team has not even been on campus since before the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games, flying directly from Seattle to Dallas for the Final Four.
“I haven’t been in my room in a long time,” forward Hannah Stuelke said. “I don’t remember what it looks like.”
While chemical engineering thermodynamics may sound hard enough for most people, O’Grady has a relatively light course load, as she sees it.
“I’m only in like four or five classes right now,” O’Grady said. “So not as much as I normally am.”
Yes, only four or five.
It helps that professors have been “really good about giving us grace,” guard Gabbie Marshall said.
“The professors have been pretty lenient and understanding,” Marshall said. “Actually, a lot of them have texted us or texted our adviser like, ‘Tell them we’re so proud of them. Good luck.’”
Czinano’s evolution professor and classmates went especially above and beyond for the fifth-year senior.
“My class made a video for me,” Czinano said glowingly. “Getting a science teacher to watch sports is like really hard. … Hearing that support meant a lot.”
Iowa women’s basketball seems to be juggling the academic-athletic balance well so far.
Center Sharon Goodman received the 2023 Elite 90 Award, which goes to the athlete at the Final Four with the best grade-point average.
Eleven Iowa women’s basketball players earned academic all-Big Ten honors this winter. Iowa men’s basketball, in comparison, had five honorees.
Iowa first has a Final Four game to play, and possibly a national championship on Sunday. Then reality will hit for Iowa’s student-athletes, or athlete-students upon their arrival at the Eastern Iowa Airport.
“I already have three exams next week,” O’Grady said. “I have to make up another one that I missed.”