IOWA CITY — Stick with your first hunch. Even when it comes to grammar.
“In four years, I’m going to use every adjective to describe (Caitlin Clark),” Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder said in a virtual press conference Wednesday.
“Wait, is it a verb or an adjective?”
It’s an adjective. And most adjectives in describing Clark are glowing.
Rarely a week goes by in which Clark isn’t receiving some sort of attention or award. If it’s not a Big Ten player-of-the-week award (four this season) or Big Ten freshman-of-the-week selection (10, already), it’s some sort of national watch list that includes her name.
“I don’t look at it too much,” Clark said. “It’s just one or two persons’ opinion. You can’t get too wrapped up in it.
“But honors showcase the program on a national level.”
Those kind of honors helped Iowa move into a nationally known program in 2019, when Megan Gustafson was the national player of the year. It didn’t hurt that the Hawkeyes won a Big Ten tournament championship and reached the NCAA Elite Eight that year.
Iowa (11-6, 7-6 Big Ten) plays its first game in a week — 3 p.m. Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena (BTN) against Penn State (8-9, 5-8).
“It’s just good to get back into a routine and a rhythm,” Bluder said.
Penn State appears to be climbing after a gradual descent that reached rock bottom last year, when the Nittany Lions finished last in the Big Ten and won only one league game.
“I do think they’re much improved,” Bluder said. “They are surprising some people. They have some good, young talent. Their transition game is outstanding.”
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Monika Czinano said, “They run the floor very well. They’re one of the quicker teams in the Big Ten. Transition defense is going to be huge.”
Iowa’s last game was an 88-81 win at Nebraska last Thursday, in which Clark set a new career high with 39 points.
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