IOWA CITY — You wanted the Iowa Hawkeyes on TV? For the foreseeable future, you’ve got ‘em.
No more streaming, no more hassle. Real, live television.
“I think our fan base has been vocal that they wanted to see us,” Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder said.
A star attraction doesn’t hurt.
“People want to see Caitlin (Clark), right?” Bluder said. “What she is doing right now, people want to see her. And she needs to be seen. She deserves to be seen.”
So grab your remote and click to the Big Ten Network on Saturday, when the Hawkeyes (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten) face 22nd-ranked Northwestern (5-2, 3-2). Tipoff is 6 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.
It’s the first of five consecutive Iowa games that will be televised for BTN. And in a season in which fans, at least for now, are not allowed into arenas, TV appearances are gold.
Bluder acknowledged Friday that her team is ahead of expectations.
“I think that’s a good assessment,” she said. “You never know how long it’s going to take the freshmen to catch on. And the sophomores, you don’t know how big of a step they’ll take in their second year.”
By now, you’re perfectly aware of Clark’s immediate impact. The rookie from West Des Moines is third nationally in scoring at 27.6 points per game, and her career-high 37 points helped the Hawkeyes rally past Minnesota, 92-79, Wednesday.
No less important has been the progression of the sophomore class. McKenna Warnock, Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin have been in the starting lineup since the season opener, and Megan Meyer has climbed the depth chart to become a valuable reserve.
Meyer played nearly 20 minutes against Minnesota, and the Hawkeyes were plus-15 when she was on the floor.
“What Megan is doing is going in and understanding her role,” Bluder said. “She doesn’t need to create shots. She just needs to be a facilitator. When she gets open looks, she knocks them down.”
Martin suffered a broken nose in the Illinois game last Sunday, and didn’t miss “a minute of practice,” Bluder said. She will wear a mask for six weeks.
Warnock suffered a scratch to her eye against Minnesota, but returned to practice and is good to go Saturday.
Northwestern earned a share of the Big Ten regular-season title last year (with Maryland) and is led by senior Lindsey Pulliam (a preseason Big Ten player-of-the-year candidate) and junior Veronica Burton (the 2020 conference defensive player of the year).
“(Burton) really makes everything go for them,” Bluder said. “I’m a pretty big fan of hers.”
Iowa women’s basketball on BTN
Saturday, Jan. 9 — at No. 22 Northwestern, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 13 — No. 16 Ohio State, 3 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 18 — Purdue, 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 21 — at No. 12 Maryland, 3 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 24 — at Rutgers, 3 p.m.
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