By John Bohnenkamp
Iowa center Monika Czinano was named to the All-Big Ten preseason women’s basketball team on Wednesday.
Czinano is coming off a season in which she ranked second nationally in field-goal percentage (.679). She was a first-team All-Big Ten pick last season as a sophomore after averaging 16 points and 5 rebounds per game.
“Her improvement from freshman to sophomore year, I think, was nothing but remarkable,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said on Monday. “I’m so excited to have Monika for a few more years, and I think she’s just continued her growth over the past year.”
Bluder said Czinano will be an important part of the Hawkeyes’ offense again this season, even though Iowa’s rotation will be guard-heavy.
“I don’t want to say this is her team,” Bluder said. “I don’t think anybody ever feels that way with our basketball teams. We try to be really balanced. But certainly having a great inside attack like Monika opens up things for our three-point shooting. We still want to play the same style. We want to get up and down and run, and she does a great job with that in the inside position, but also we want to pass the ball really well. She’s a wonderful target to pass the ball to. She’s got great hands.
“I think she’s doing a great job leading. She’s not a captain. I think as a sophomore (last season) we needed her to work on so many other things and concentrate on so many other things that I didn’t want that to be on her plate, as well, but she is a leader just because that’s the type of person she is.”