Iowa Women's Basketball

Monika Czinano an offensive force in Iowa women's basketball exhibition victory

6-foot-3 Minnesota native scores a game-high 27 points as Hawkeyes rout D-2 Winona State, 98-53

IOWA CITY — If Sunday’s exhibition game is any indicator, post players that score points will still be a strength for the Iowa women’s basketball team.

Iowa sophomore center Monika Czinano, tasked with replacing consensus All-American Megan Gustafson close to the basket, led all scorers with 27 points by converting all 13 of her shot attempts as the Hawkeyes routed Division-II Winona State (Minn.), 98-53, before 3,407 fans Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I was just pleased with the way that our team looked for her,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “I just feel like we did a really good job in this game, better than what we have been doing in practices, of actually identifying her and looking for her and getting those great assists to her in position for her to score.”

The 6-foot-3 Czinano played in 34 games last season as a reserve behind Gustafson and averaged 5.3 points per contest with a season-high of 15 for an Iowa team that tied the school record with 29 wins, won the Big Ten tournament and was one win away from the Final Four in the NCAA tournament.

While nobody expects Czinano to completely replace the production of Gustafson, a two-time All-American and owner of multiple Big Ten and school records, the 2018 all-state selection from Watertown, Minn., showed Sunday that the drop-off may be much less than anticipated.

“For me personally, working on rebounding in practice is going to be a big thing,” said Czinano, who collected three rebounds. “And just kind of taking it day by day. I know that I had a great predecessor in the post position, but I think if Megan taught me anything, it is just taking it day by day and working as hard as you can every day. That is what our team really embodies as a whole, so just really making sure we carry that into the regular season.”

Senior Kathleen Doyle — a selection to the preseason all-Big Ten team — will lead the switch to a four-guard starting lineup. She posted 20 points and five assists, redshirt freshman Kate Martin scored half of Iowa’s first 14 points and Mason City native Makenzie Meyer led the team with eight assists. Freshman and Cincinnati native Gabbie Marshall scored 10 points off the bench.

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“I feel like we are just really trying to drive and pitch and really attack people,” Doyle said. “We have a lot of guards who can make plays and create for other people. … We really value the assist, so if we have a good shot, we are trying to get our teammates a better shot. That is what this offense is really all about and it is really fun to play with a lot of really good shooters.”

Former Linn-Mar prep Amanda Ollinger scored seven points and corralled a team-high nine rebounds for Iowa, which opens the regular season Thursday at home against Florida Atlantic.

Caitlin Riley, a freshman from Cedar Rapids Washington, led Winona State with 16 points, which included four 3-point baskets.

Women’s basketball

AT CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA

Iowa 98, Winona State 53 (exhibition)

Winona State 15 9 11 18—53

Iowa 23 28 19 28—98

WINONA STATE (53): Taylor Hustad 1-7 0-0 2, Sydney Lodermeier 1-4 0-0 3, Emma Fee 0-4 1-2 1, Allie Pickrain 2-11 0-0 6, Emily Kieck 0-3 0-0 0, Taylor Klug 2-7 0-0 6, Taylor Fautsch 0-2 0-0 0, Caitlin Riley 6-13 0-0 16, Alex Domfeld 2-8 2-2 6, Jenna Bruss 2-8 0-0 5, Shea Dechant 2-4 2-5 6, Abby Callahan 1-2 0-0 2, Totals 19-72 5-9 53.

IOWA (98): Makenzie Meyer 2-4 0-0 5, Alexis Sevillian 3-4 0-0 7, Kate Martin 2-4 2-2 7, Kathleen Doyle 8-12 4-4 20, Monika Czinano 13-13 1-1 27, Amanda Ollinger 3-5 0-0 7, Gabbie Marshall 2-7 4-4 10, McKenna Warnock 2-3 0-0 4, Tomi Taiwo 3-7 0-1 7, Zion Sanders 0-0 2-2 2, Logan Cook 1-3 0-1 2, Megan Meyer 0-2 0-0 0, Paula Valino Ramos 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 39-64 13-15 98.

Three-point baskets — Winona State 10-33 (Riley 4-7, Klug 2-4, Pickrain 2-8, Lodermeier 1-2, Bruss 1-3, Hustad 0-1, Fautsch 0-1, Callahan 0-1, Kieck 0-2, Domfeld 0-2, Dechant 0-2; Iowa 7-21 (Marshall 2-5, Ollinger 1-1, Sevillian 1-2, Ma. Meyer 1-3, Martin 1-3, Taiwo 1-3, Doyle 0-1, Warnock 0-1, Me. Meyer 0-2). Rebounds — Winona State 37 (Domfeld 7), Iowa 46 (Ollinger 9). Assists — Winona State 20 (Kieck 5), Iowa 23 Ma. Meyer 8). Turnovers — Winona State 20, Iowa 14. A — 3,407.

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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