116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Sports / Iowa Hawkeyes / Iowa Basketball
Monika Czinano, McKenna Warnock ready to ‘enjoy every moment’ in their Carver-Hawkeye Arena finales
Carver-Hawkeye sellouts highlight departing duo’s favorite moments in Iowa City
IOWA CITY — Ask McKenna Warnock and Monika Czinano about their favorite memories at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and they’ll bring up the same moment.
Well, more like moments.
The sellouts, with last year’s Big Ten title-clinching game against Michigan being at the top of the list.
“Running out to a sold-out crowd has got to be up there,” Czinano said.
Czinano and Warnock’s farewell gift from Iowa fans will be one more opportunity to run out of the Carver-Hawkeye tunnel to a sold-out crowd Sunday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
"It’s probably an experience most women’s basketball athletes don’t get to have,“ Warnock said. “So it’s super awesome that we’re able to get this at Iowa.”
The first and second-round games in Iowa City sold out in 53 minutes, according to Iowa sports information.
“Carver fans go all out,” Czinano said, “So I love it.”
Sunday’s sellout will be far from a unique experience for Iowa.
Every time Iowa has hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament since 2019, it’s been a sellout.
“I’m lucky because I don’t really know anything else,” Czinano said. “It’s super fun.”
Throughout Warnock and Czinano’s Iowa careers — Warnock arrived in 2019, Czinano in 2018 — the Hawkeyes have consistently been in the top 10 in attendance nationally.
Iowa ranked ninth in 2018-19, 10th in 2019-20 and fifth in 2021-22.
This year’s fan support has reached another level. Heading into Sunday’s game, Iowa has averaged a Big Ten record-breaking 10,952 fans per game.
“Caitlin (Clark) is a big part of it,” Warnock said. “Our team is a big part of it. Coach Bluder is a big part of it.”
Czinano plans to “really try to soak it in” as she takes the court one more time at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“Enjoy every moment that I’m out there,” Czinano said. “But most importantly, just going out there and competing as best as I can.”
When the final time does arrive Sunday, they’re hoping it ends with a Sweet 16 berth.
“It would be a dream come true honestly,” Warnock said. “No better way to go out.”
It might not be easy, though, against 10th-seeded Georgia.
The Bulldogs are 13th in the country in Her Hoops Stats’ defensive rating. Only two of Iowa’s 2022-23 opponents rank higher in the stat than the Bulldogs — Indiana and UConn — and both beat the Hawkeyes.
While Iowa’s roster technically has five seniors, Sunday’s matinee will only be Czinano and Warnock’s swan song.
Czinano already exhausted her extra COVID-19 year of eligibility in 2022-23, and Warnock plans to attend dental school. Unlike master’s degrees, competing in basketball and studying in dental school was not feasible.
“I talked a lot with coaches about it,” Warnock said. “It was definitely a back-and-forth conversation, definitely not an easy conversation, but I have six more years of school left.”
Warnock started the application process in December and expects it to take until November. She has applied to 12 schools, and Iowa is one of three in the Midwest on her list.
“So it’s basically here or anywhere else,” Warnock said.
Iowa’s dental school would come with an obvious perk of watching her soon-to-be-former team play.
“That’d be so awesome,” Warnock said. “I love watching these girls, and they’re going to have a great year next year.”
Until then, Warnock and Czinano have one more chance to run out as a player at a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena.