IOWA CITY — The texting rate between Makenzie Meyer and Tania Davis has become more frequent recently.
The common theme?
“Mostly, ‘I miss you,’” Meyer said Tuesday. “We had a Snapchat story about the West Virginia game (last year, in which Iowa rallied from a 24-point deficit to win). She said, ‘That was so much fun.’”
A lot about last year’s women’s basketball season was so much fun. The Hawkeyes won the Big Ten tournament and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Meyer and Davis were key parts of it.
They’ll be friendly foes Wednesday, when Clemson (3-5) visits Iowa (5-2) as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tipoff is 8 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Davis, the calm, cool point guard who overcame two torn ACLs to score more than 1,000 points in her Iowa career, returns as a graduate manager for the Tigers.
“We’re excited to have her back in the building,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “She’s one person you don’t want on the opposing bench. She knows our personnel better than anybody. We’ve changed a lot, but some things remain the same.”
Davis will be presented her Big Ten tournament championship ring Wednesday, as will Hannah Stewart, another starter from the 2018-19 squad.
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The Hawkeyes are coming off a Puerto Rico trip in which they won two games (against Cincinnati and Towson) and lost one (to Washington).
“I think we developed a lot,” center Monika Czinano said. “We still have more to learn. We’re adding pieces of our offense and we have to incorporate.”
Bluder has settled into a rotation of eight, maybe nine players that includes three freshmen. Gabbie Marshall has emerged as the top rookie, averaging 22.6 minutes and 8.1 points per game.
“I’ve been trying to take it day by day here,” said Marshall, from Cincinnati. “The speed of the game is different than it was in high school. It’s the same game, just at a much faster pace. The girls are physically stronger. I’m just trying to get used to the speed and physicality.”
Bluder said, “Our freshmen are getting comfortable in their roles, especially Gabbie and McKenna (Warnock). The sooner they feel a part of it, the quicker we’re going to become a better team.”
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