Five Hawkeyes finished in double-figure scoring and 12 saw floor time for head coach Lisa Bluder’s bunch.
After putting on quite a show in the Crossover At Kinnick, No. 3 Iowa made sure that its final exhibition was worth the price of admission for fans.
“I thought we did some good things today. Obviously, we had the size advantage but we took advantage of it. I thought we ran the floor well, too. Hannah (Stuelke) and Sharon (Goodman) both had great games. We shared the ball well and had 30 assists. This was it, and now we are getting ready for the home opener on Nov. 6,” Iowa head women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder said afterwards.
Let’s dive into some of the key takeaways from Iowa’s final exhibition.
Easy work for Caitlin Clark
Just a ho-hum, efficient 9-of-13 shooting performance from the floor from superstar senior guard Caitlin Clark. The reigning national player of the year and preseason AP All-American just took what the defense gave to her, scoring 24 points, dishing out nine assists and collecting four rebounds.
With the Crossover At Kinnick being an outdoors event and not really needing to let it fly in this one, we really haven’t seen Clark explode with one of her patented 3-point eruption nights. She was just 1-of-3 from 3-point distance.
It’ll come. Nice, productive final exhibition for Clark ahead of her encore act as the nation’s top player.
In 25 minutes of floor time, sophomore forward Hannah Stuelke tallied game-highs with 27 points and 10 rebounds. She connected on 11-of-15 field goal attempts.
Two other pieces of her performance to take note of: Stuelke went 1-for-2 from downtown and she connected on 4-of-5 free throw tries.
Let’s touch on the latter piece first. That’s huge for Iowa. Stuelke is going to get fouled a lot this season and sent to the charity stripe time and time again. The Hawkeyes need to be able to count on her to deliver in those instances.
And on the former? OK, Hannah! Is she going to start turning into more of a floor-spacer for Iowa? Or, was this just a versus-Clarke type of thing?
Kate Martin, Gabbie Marshall serve up perfection
Graduate student Kate Martin and fifth-year guard Gabbie Marshall make up the other two-thirds of the returning nucleus for the Hawkeyes that have started a number of games entering the 2023-24 season. Combined, Martin and Marshall have started 199 career games.
These are seasoned players that will be called upon to supplement Clark’s stardom with nightly production on the perimeter. In limited floor time versus Clarke, Martin and Marshall combined to knock down 6-of-6 from the floor for 14 points with nine assists and six rebounds.
Iowa needs to create depth beyond its starting three guards, but they also need Martin and Marshall to continue expanding their games.
Addi, Sharon tag-team for big day
Here’s another pair of players that need to keep blossoming for coach Bluder and Co. Another nice exhibition for junior centers Addison O’Grady and Sharon Goodman.
O’Grady finished 6-of-10 shooting for 12 points with a pair of rebounds, while Goodman added 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting and nine rebounds.
Iowa is replacing Monika Czinano’s 17.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game from last season. Replacing much of that production will need to come from this duo.
Kylie Feuerbach is back!
Back from an ACL injury that ended her 2022-23 season, redshirt junior Kylie Feuerbach is healthy once more and should be one of the names to watch in the backcourt spelling the Hawkeyes’ starters.
The 6-foot guard knocked down 2-of-6 3-pointers and a pair of free throws to finish with eight points.
Alongside fifth-year guard Molly Davis and junior Sydney Affolter, Feuerbach can really help this team by improving her game and becoming a legitimate bench piece for the Hawks.
The season is here!
Remember the exhilaration when Caitlin Clark knocked down the buzzer-beating, game-winner to knock off then-No. 2 Indiana, 86-85, in Carver? Remember the pride when the Target Center turned into Carver North as Iowa routed then-No. 14 Ohio State to capture a back-to-back Big Ten Tournament Championship?
How about that sprint to the national championship game where Clark did things that the women’s NCAA Tournament had never seen before? How about Clark screaming into a pack of Hawkeyes in celebration at American Airlines Center? Ready to go around for another ride?
The exhibition season is over. All aboard the train to the mountaintop. Revenge season has arrived. Iowa’s 2023-24 women’s college basketball season gets underway on Nov. 6 versus Fairleigh Dickinson at 6:30 p.m. CT.
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