IOWA CITY — Lisa Bluder has a tentative starting lineup for Wednesday’s season opener.
Emphasis on tentative.
“I have it in pencil, and there are a lot of erasers being used this time of year,” said Bluder, who opens her 21st season as University of Iowa women’s basketball coach when the Hawkeyes host Northern Iowa on Wednesday.
Tipoff is 6:30 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Bluder called her projected starting five “the usual suspects,” but that’s not entirely true. In fact, other than junior Monika Czinano, the other four starters have combined for a total of four career starts at Iowa.
Czinano is a no-brainer. The preseason all-Big Ten center was second on the team in scoring last year at 16.0 points per game. She led the Big Ten — and was second in the nation — in field-goal accuracy, at 67.9 percent.
The rest of the lineup probably will consist of three sophomores (McKenna Warnock, Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin), along with freshmen point guard Caitlin Clark.
Versatile for a power forward, Warnock started three games last year and was fourth on the team in scoring, at 8.0 points per game.
Martin is a redshirt sophomore; she missed the 2018-19 season with a torn ACL. Bluder said Martin made a big leap since last year, when she played only 8.1 minutes per game.
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Marshall, along with Clark and senior Alexis Sevillian, is a prime long-range threat. She hit 37.4 percent from distance last season, starting one game.
And that leaves Clark, the No. 4 high school senior last year according to ESPN. The West Des Moines Dowling product scored 2,547 career points, leading the state in scoring as a junior (32.5 points per game) and as a senior (33.7).
“It’s hard to come in as a freshman, and point guard is a difficult position to play,” Bluder said. “I think the team knows how well Caitlin fits, and how good she can be. The team respects her.”
Iowa owns a 36-game Carver win streak.
BIG TEN RELEASES SCHEDULE
The Big Ten released its women’s basketball schedule Monday afternoon.
Here is Iowa’s 20-game conference slate:
Dec. 5: Wisconsin (home)
Dec. 12: at Michigan State
Dec. 19: at Ohio State
Dec. 31: Rutgers (home)
Jan. 3: at Illinois
Jan. 6: Minnesota (home)
Jan. 9: at Northwestern
Jan. 13: Ohio State (home)
Jan. 18: Purdue (home)
Jan. 21: at Maryland
Jan. 24: at Rutgers
Jan. 28: Northwestern (home)
Jan. 31: at Minnesota
Feb. 7: Indiana (home)
Feb. 10: at Nebraska
Feb. 18: Penn State (home)
Feb. 21: at Indiana
Feb. 25: Michigan (home)
Feb. 28: at Wisconsin
March 5 or 6: Nebraska (home)
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