Iowa Women's Basketball

Iowa women's basketball isn't perfect, but good enough to handle Wisconsin once again

Hawkeyes make it 23 straight against the Badgers, 85-78

IOWA CITY — Caitlin Clark isn’t going to resemble an instant all-American every game.

The offense isn’t going to hum smoothly all of the time.

Iowa had some clunky stretches Saturday, but because of the opponent — and the site — they didn’t prove disastrous.

“We showed our youth today, I thought,” Coach Lisa Bluder said after the Hawkeyes held serve against Wisconsin, 85-78, in the Big Ten women’s basketball opener at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) won its 38th straight game at Carver and handled the Badgers for the 23rd straight time.

“This game didn’t go exactly as we planned,” junior post Monika Czinano said. “This is a young team, but we came together (at the end).”

Wisconsin (1-1, 0-1) rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to forge a 41-41 deadlock with eight minutes left in the third quarter, but the Hawkeyes answered and gradually pulled away.

It was 61-51 by the end of the third quarter, and a 9-0 run early in the fourth period extended the margin to 70-53. Iowa led 76-58 before the Badgers made a closing push.

Clark led the Hawkeyes with 23 points, but wasn’t as sharp as she had been in the first two games. The freshman forced the action at times, shooting 8 of 23 from the field.

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“I don’t think Wisconsin did anything special against her; I just think Caitlin took herself out of her shooting percentage today,” Bluder said.

Czinano added 18 points and nine rebounds, and Gabbie Marshall posted 15 points.

The Hawkeyes were plus-24 in the 26 minutes that Marshall was on the floor.

“I’ve tried more this season to focus on my defense,” she said. “I’m playing harder, getting into passing lanes. It all starts with defense, and that translates into offense.”

Marshall drained a pair of 3-pointers in a crucial 10-4 third-quarter surge.

“Gabbie’s a really, really solid all-around player,” Czinano said. “She’s exactly what this team needs.”

McKenna Warnock, who grew up a half-hour from the Kohl Center on the Wisconsin campus, gave the Hawkeyes a fourth double-digit scorer, tallying 12 points. Iowa accumulated 22 assists against eight turnovers. So there was plenty of good.

“Bottom line, we started 1-0 (in the Big Ten),” Bluder said. “Every win is important.”

On the other hand, the Hawkeyes were outrebounded 49-33 and surrendered 26 points to Sydney Hilliard.

The Hawkeyes finished the first quarter with an 11-2 run for a 24-15 lead, then extended it to 35-21 midway through the second period. But the Badgers sliced into it with an 11-0 rush, and were within 40-35 at halftime.

Clark, who scored 57 points in the Hawkeyes’ first two games, was 3-for-13 in the first half.

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Iowa hosts Iowa State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, then resumes its conference slate next Saturday at Michigan State.

The Hawkeyes have won four straight Cy-Hawk games.

IOWA 85, WISCONSIN 78

At Iowa City

WISCONSIN (78): Imani Lewis 7-11 3-4 17, Sara Stapleton 3-8 0-0 6, Estella Moschkau 3-12 0-0 7, Julie Pospisilova 3-7 0-0 9, Sydney Hilliard 11-17 4-4 26, Brooke Schramek 1-5 4-7 6, Alex Luehring 0-3 1-2 1, Kate Thompson 1-2 2-2 4, Tara Stauffacher 0-0 0-0 0, Halle Douglass 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 30-69 14-19 78.

IOWA (85): McKenna Warnock 5-9 0-0 12, Monika Czinano 9-14 0-2 18, Kate Martin 1-5 0-0 3, Caitlin Clark 8-23 4-6 23, Gabbie Marshall 6-10 0-0 15, Alexis Sevillian 1-1 0-0 3, Lauren Jensen 1-1 0-0 3, Sharon Goodman 2-3 2-2 6, Megan Meyer 0-2 0-0 0, Logan Cook 1-2 0-1 2, Tomi Taiwo 0-1 0-0 0, Shateah Wetering 0-1 0-0 0, Zion Sanders 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-72 6-11 85.

Halftime: Iowa 40, Wisconsin 35. 3-point goals: Wisconsin 4-21 (Moschkau 1-7, Pospisilova 3-4, Hilliard 0-2, Schramek 0-3, Luehring 0-3, Douglass 0-2), Iowa 11-28 (Warnock 2-4, Martin 1-4, Clark 3-10, Marshall 3-5, Sevillian 1-1, Jensen 1-1, Meyer 0-1, Taiwo 0-1, Wetering 0-1). Team fouls: Wisconsin 14, Iowa 11. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Wisconsin 49 (Lewis 11), Iowa 33 (Czinano 9). Assists: Wisconsin 15 (Hilliard 6), Iowa 22 (Martin 6). Steals: Wisconsin 3 (three with 1), Iowa 10 (Martin, Marshall 3). Turnovers: Wisconsin 17, Iowa 8.

Attendance: 325.

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

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