The No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes (8-1) may have gone from the sunny skies of Florida to the grayer skies of home, but the atmosphere was sunny inside Carver Hawkeye Arena as they soundly defeated Bowling Green 99-65 for their fifth-consecutive win.
Prior to the game, head coach Lisa Bluder was given a commemorative ball in acknowledgement of her 500th career win as Hawkeye head coach, a milestone reached with Iowa’s Gulf Coast Showcase semifinal win over FGCU.
"Now my why is about empowering women, and using the sport of basketball to create the next generation of female leaders." - @LisaBluder— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessWBB) November 29, 2023
Lisa Bluder discusses her why for coaching as she recently surpassed the 500 career win mark at @IowaWBB. #NCAAWBB pic.twitter.com/HqFkZgHuI2
Saturday’s sold-out crowd included WNBA legend Sue Bird and actor Jason Sudeikis, best known for his role as Ted Lasso in the smash-hit series. Noticeably absent on the court, however, was Hannah Stuelke, who remains out due to an ankle injury she sustained during the opener of the Gulf Coast Showcase against Purdue-Fort Wayne.
Despite the sophomore forward’s absence, it was a team game and a team win for the Hawkeyes, as five players scored in double figures, including a couple of bench players who filled the void left by Stuelke. Amongst the starters, Caitlin Clark was off target from 3, going 2-for-11, but utilized her playmaking and inside game to finish with a double-double of 24 points and 11 assists. Kate Martin played with relentlessness and finished with 17 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Sharon Goodman came through in the second half to finish with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Martin also came away with three blocks, again exhibiting fiery emotion when making a big play. After one of her blocks, she let out a roar before the crowd did, something she didn’t realize. After the game, she talked about her tenaciousness and its origins, sharing:
You’re hustling, you’re working hard on defense, you take pride in that. It feels good. I played volleyball, it is like getting a kill in volleyball. I let out some emotion out and that’s good. The women’s game needs some emotion. It is exciting, it brings up the energy, my teammates gets excited, the bench gets excited. So you need that and it is fun.
Bluder gushed over the confidence Martin has played with as of late. “I think Kate Martin is so strong and confident,” she said. “I am just so happy with the way she is playing.”
Two bench players—Sydney Affolter and Addison O’Grady—were instrumental factors. Affolter was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field as she came away with 14 points, four rebounds, and three assists. O’Grady followed suit as she garnered 10 points and three rebounds. In the final moments, Jada Gyamfi came in and added seven points of her own, including a three pointer.
In addition to Clark going 2-for-11 from the 3-point line, the Hawkeyes overall were largely subpar from their 3-point sweet spots as they went 6-for-17 from behind the arc for 35.3 percent. As a result, they had to rely on points inside; they over delivered in that category, finishing with 75 points in the paint. Iowa finished shooting a whopping 66.7 percent from the field.
Afterwards, the team shared a moment with Bird and Sudeikis in the locker room.
On Wednesday, Dec. 6, No. 4 Iowa (8-1) will be hitting the road to take on their neighbor and rival Iowa State (3-3) in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series at 6 p.m. CST.