Iowa Women's Basketball

After a perfect exhibition, Monika Czinano gears up for Iowa women's basketball season opener

Amanda Ollinger will join starting lineup when Hawkeyes host Florida Atlantic

Iowa's Monika Czinano (center) celebrates a play with Megan Meyer, Kathleen Doyle and Kate Martin in the Hawkeyes' 98-53 exhibition win over Winona State on Sunday. Czinano made all 13 of her field-goal attempts. Iowa hosts Florida Atlantic on Thursday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa's Monika Czinano (center) celebrates a play with Megan Meyer, Kathleen Doyle and Kate Martin in the Hawkeyes' 98-53 exhibition win over Winona State on Sunday. Czinano made all 13 of her field-goal attempts. Iowa hosts Florida Atlantic on Thursday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Monika Czinano is a rookie of the Iowa Hawkeyes’ weekly women’s basketball news conferences.

She followed Kathleen Doyle to a corner of the media room Tuesday morning at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

A bit exasperated, Doyle pointed across the room.

“That’s your corner over there,” she said.

If Sunday’s exhibition game was any indication, Czinano will be a veteran of this routine in no time.

The sophomore converted all 13 of her field-goal attempts in a 27-point performance as the Hawkeyes breezed.

“Thirteen-for-13 ... that’s pretty good,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “We do know how to feed the post really well, and we were looking for Monika. She had a height and physical-stature advantage, and she got some really good looks.”

That was an exhibition against an NCAA Division-II Winona State squad. This is a season opener against Florida Atlantic.

Tipoff is 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Carver.

For the Hawkeyes, Game 1 should be easy money. FAU was 5-25 last season, the Hawkeyes take a 21-game home winning streak into the season, and Bluder is 19-0 in season openers at Iowa.

“It’s always nice to play somebody new,” Bluder said.

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No matter what Czinano encounters this season, it won’t be anything more challenging that what she dealt with at practice last season, battling against Megan Gustafson and Hannah Stewart.

“It really helped prepare me for whatever I’ll face,” Czinano said. “The team did a great job executing the offense (Sunday). We shot the ball well and had a lot of options outside and inside.”

Makenzie Meyer said, “I’m so happy for Monika. A lot of people were doubting our post play this year. Now that we’re running one post instead of two, it’s easier to find her, and she gets good position.”

A preseason all-Big Ten player, Doyle needs seven points to become the 37th player in school history to reach 1,000 in a career.

“I don’t think about that stuff much,” she said. “When I got to 1,000 in high school, I didn’t find out until the next day.”

Bluder said she will insert Cedar Rapids native Amanda Ollinger into the starting lineup Thursday. She will replace redshirt freshman Kate Martin.

“Amanda looked so good in the summer. She’s one of our best rebounders, and we really need that from her,” Bluder said.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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