Bluder Enjoys Hawkeyes’ Box Score Story

By John Bohnenkamp

Lisa Bluder liked the look of the box score.

The Iowa women’s basketball coach saw all five of her starters in double figures in Thursday’s 90-84 win over Rutgers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and was impressed.

“It’s just good for our team to get a lot of people involved in our offense,” Bluder said. “I think that we’re getting there. I think that’s so good.”

Caitlin Clark got her points. The freshman guard, who came into the game ranked third in the nation in scoring, got 28 points.

But there were big shots from everyone.

McKenna Warnock, coming off an ankle injury that kept her out of Iowa’s last game against Western Illinois, had 18 points, 12 in the first quarter.

Monika Czinano had 17 points.

Kate Martin had 12 points, including a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left that put Iowa up 84-78, a shot that Bluder called “the nail in the coffin.”

Gabbie Marshall had 10 points — her back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter gave the Hawkeyes a 59-54 lead.

“This is a good win,” Bluder said.

Iowa (6-1 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) was rattled at times, especially in the second quarter, by Rutgers’ physical defense. But the Hawkeyes, who led by as much as 20 points in the first half, stayed calm, especially late in the game.

“Basketball, at every point I’ve played, is a game of runs,” said center Monika Czinano, who had 17 points. “We had ours. They had theirs. And it kind of left us neutral.”

Warnock staked Iowa to its early lead with four 3-pointers as the Hawkeyes led 28-12 at the end of the first quarter.

“She’s a big piece for us,” Clark said. “It wasn’t for her, I’m not sure we would have had that big lead.”

“She can stretch the floor really well,” Czinano said. “It really opens things up for us.”

“She’s a warrior,” Bluder said.

Iowa’s lead was 32-12 with 8:41 left in the second quarter when Rutgers (5-2, 1-2) went on a 23-5 run. The Hawkeyes, who had 19 turnovers for the game, had 10 in that quarter.

“We would have one turnover that would lead to another,” Clark said.

“The second quarter was bad for us,” Bluder said. “The second quarter, we got a little panicky, a little antsy, trying to inbound the ball against their pressure.”

The Hawkeyes didn’t let their lead get away until the third quarter, when Arella Guirantes, who had 34 points, hit a 3-pointer to put Rutgers up 52-51.

“You’re probably looking at a first-round WNBA draft pick there,” Bluder said. “You can’t let her get loose at any time.”

The Rutgers lead was 54-53 when Marshall hit her two threes, and the Hawkeyes wouldn’t trail again.

Martin’s 3-pointer came as the Scarlet Knights swarmed Clark.

“I heard Kate in the corner,” Clark said.

She smiled.

“I knew she was going to knock it down,” Clark said. “We practice those every day.”

It was the final field goal for the Hawkeyes in a box score that Bluder admired.

“Lot of good things,” she said.

Photo: Iowa’s Kate Martin reacts after her fourth-quarter 3-pointer in Thursday’s win over Rutgers. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

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