Iowa Women's Basketball

Iowa women's basketball: Hawkeyes welcome back a team they beat by 67 last year

North Carolina Central is off to a 1-8 start

Iowa's Monika Czinano (25), celebrating a basket with teammate Kathleen Doyle (22) in Wednesday's 75-69 win over Iowa St
Iowa’s Monika Czinano (25), celebrating a basket with teammate Kathleen Doyle (22) in Wednesday’s 75-69 win over Iowa State, is third in the nation in field-goal percentage at .699. The Hawkeyes host North Carolina Central at 2 p.m. Saturday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — An intense intrastate test is behind. Another lies ahead.

What’s in between? Most likely, a breather.

North Carolina Central comes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a non-conference women’s basketball game with the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday. Tipoff is 2 p.m.

Under ordinary circumstances, this could be feared as a “trap game” for the Hawkeyes (7-2). They’re coming off a victory at Iowa State, and a home battle with Drake is a week away.

But NCCU is 1-8 and has suffered six consecutive losses, most recently a 92-53 loss at North Carolina on Sunday. What’s more, the Hawkeyes smashed the Eagles, 106-39, last year at Carver, scoring 89 points in the final three quarters.

It was the second-largest margin of victory in Iowa history.

So the Hawkeyes’ home win streak — currently at 25 — should be safe for another week, at least. Regardless of outcome, this game will be detrimental to Iowa’s RPI; NCCU’s rank currently is 331.

Iowa didn’t trail after early in the second period Wednesday and defeated ISU for the fourth straight time, 75-69. Amanda Ollinger established a career high for rebounds (20), and Tomi Taiwo came off the bench to hit 3 of 4 shots from long range, scoring a career-best nine points.

Monika Czinano has taken the reins from former All-American Megan Gustafson as an efficient scorer inside. The sophomore from Minnesota ranks third nationally in field goal percentage at .699. Czinano is averaging 15.0 points per game. Kathleen Doyle leads the Hawkeyes at 15.4 per game; Makenzie Meyer is at 14.7.

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