116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It's a given that Caitlin Clark and Monika Czinano are going to score.
What we've learned throughout the season - and especially in March - is that the Iowa Hawkeyes are at their best when others join the party.
Sunday, that was Kate Martin early, Tomi Taiwo for a quick burst, McKenna Warnock later on.
That all added up to an 87-72 NCAA women's basketball first-round victory over Central Michigan at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
'When Kate Martin comes out and gets on a roll, watch out,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. 'She really got us going.”
A redshirt sophomore, Martin scored all 13 of her points in the first quarter as Iowa (19-9) got out in front. That, and some early foul trouble for CMU star Micaela Kelly, helped the Hawkeyes advance to the second round.
They'll face No. 4-seed Kentucky (18-8) on Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.
Clark and Czinano scored 23 points apiece, and teamed up for a flashy exclamation point at the end of the game. But it was Martin's quick start then ignited the Hawkeyes, and later surges by Taiwo and Warnock that kept them out of harm's way.
'Our offense is best when we have multiple people in double figures,” Clark said.
Warnock added 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Taiwo scored seven quick points in a 10-0 surge that pushed Iowa's lead to 42-26 midway through the second quarter.
'Tomi gave us a really, really nice spark,” Bluder said.
Central Michigan (18-9) got out to a 13-8 lead, but Kelly - the Chippewas' leading scorer at 23.9 points per game - picked up her second foul at 5:44 mark of the first quarter.
Iowa surged to its first lead, 14-13, on Clark's three-point play, and took a 19-16 advantage on Czinano's hook.
That prompted CMU Coach Heather Oesterle to bring Kelly back in.
Kelly scored on the next possession, then picked up her third personal at the 0:56 juncture of the quarter with Iowa up 22-18.
The Hawkeyes pounced on her absence, pushing the advantage to 42-26 by the midpoint of the second quarter.
At that point, Oesterle had to gamble with Kelly again, putting her back in the game with three fouls. This time it paid off, and the Chippewas crept within 48-37 by halftime.
Central Michigan cut the margin to six points on three occasions in the third quarter, but Warnock kept the Chippewas at bay through that stretch, scoring 11 straight Iowa points.
It was 65-52 after three quarters, and CMU didn't get within single digits again.
At 81-67, Clark drove the lane, spun a pass behind the back to Czinano, who delivered with a three-point play for the final dagger.
'I split a screen, and I knew Monika was on the block,” Clark said. 'She was ready, and credit to her for finishing that play.”
Bluder said, 'It doesn't surprise me a bit when Caitlin does something like that. It's fun. It's exciting. I do like the safe pace, but man, that's exciting.
'That's who she is. And I'm going to let her shine.”
Kelly paced Central Michigan with 23 points. Molly Davis added 18.
IOWA 87, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 72
NCAA Tournament First Round, at San Antonio
CENTRAL MICHIGAN (72): Kyra Bussell 3-9 0-0 8, Jahari Smith 3-5 0-0 6, Micaela Kelly 7-14 6-7 23, Maddy Watters 2-6 1-3 6, Molly Davis 8-19 3-5 18, Anika Weekes 1-7 2-2 5, Sophia Karasinski 1-2 0-0 3, Kalle Martinez 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 25-65 12-17 72.
IOWA (87): McKenna Warnock 4-11 4-4 13, Monika Czinano 10-18 3-4 23, Kate Martin 3-8 4-4 13, Caitlin Clark 8-16 4-5 23, Gabbie Marshall 1-4 0-0 2, Tomi Taiwo 3-6 0-0 7, Logan Cook 0-0 0-0 0, Sharon Goodman 1-1 1-1 3, Megan Meyer 0-0 0-0 0, Alexis Sevillian 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 31-65 16-18 87.
Halftime: Iowa 48, CMU 37. 3-point goals: CMU 10-27 (Bussell 2-4, Kelly 3-6, Watters 1-4, Davis 1-7, Weekes 1-2, Karasinski 1-2, Martinez 1-3), Iowa 9-23 (Warnock 1-4, Martin 3-6, Clark 3-8, Marshall 0-1, Taiwo 1-3, Sevillian 1-1). Team fouls: CMU 17, Iowa 15. Fouled out: Smith. Rebounds: CMU 37 (Bussell 9), Iowa 40 (Warnock 10). Assists: CMU 10 (Kelly, Davis 3), Iowa 17 (Clark 7). Steals: CMU 8 (Davis 5), Iowa 8 (Martin, Clark, Marshall 2). Turnovers: CMU 12, Iowa 13.
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