116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - They were teammates. Roommates.
Caitlin Clark and Naz Hillmon were members of Team USA's 19-and-under women's basketball team that captured a gold medal in 2019.
'More than anything, Naz is a great person, a great leader,” Clark said Wednesday. 'I have a ton of respect for her, the player and person she is.
'We're going to do our best to keep her under control.”
Hillmon and Clark will be two focal points when 12th-ranked Michigan (13-2 overall, 8-2 Big Ten) visits Iowa (12-7, 8-7) in a Big Ten battle Thursday. Tipoff is 3:30 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
'Naz is truly one of the best players, not only in the Big Ten, but also in the nation,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. 'The last five games, she's shooting 69 percent from the floor. She's averaging 5 1/2 offensive rebounds per game. That's incredible. She gets to the free-throw line eight times per game.”
Clark leads the Big Ten in scoring, at 27.3 points per game. Hillmon - a junior forward - is second at 25.9 per game, and leads the league in rebounding, at 11.5 boards per contest.
Those two, and Rutgers' Arella Guirantes, are the primary candidates for Big Ten player of the year.
The Hawkeyes are in Express Preparation mode. They played (but didn't play much defense) Tuesday, falling at No. 8 Maryland, 111-93. It was the most points the Hawkeyes have ever surrendered to a Division-I opponent.
Wednesday's practice was more of a walk-through, to preserve legs.
'We have to be cognizant of fatigue, our legs,” Bluder said. 'We'll be watching film and walking through our scout.”
Iowa's Kate Martin said her legs felt 'great” Wednesday. 'I'm doing a lot to recover, hot tub, cold tub, roll them out a lot.”
Clark is more of a hot-tub fan than cold.
'Definitely,” she said. 'You've just got to do it. Taking care of your body is super important.”
The Clark-Hillmon reunion is just one storyline. Iowa's Tomi Taiwo, whose role has expanded in recent weeks, was a teammate of Michigan's Amy Dilk at Carmel (Ind.) High School.
'It was a good experience, being teammates,” Taiwo said. 'We kind of fed off each other. We had four Division-I players on our team. We were pretty stacked.”
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