Time Is On Hawkeyes' Side In Win

Iowa's Monika Czinano (25) scored 23 points in Saturday's 100-57 win over Penn State. (Darren Miller/hawkeyesports.com)

John Bohnenkamp

What Iowa’s women’s basketball team achieved in Saturday’s 100-57 win over Penn State could be found in the box score, but it wasn’t the amount of points.

It was all about time.

Freshman McKenna Warnock came off the bench and played 14 minutes.

Freshman Gabbie Marshall played 19 minutes.

Junior Zion Sanders played 14.

Redshirt freshman Kate Martin played 11 minutes, and sophomore Tomi Taiwo played 10.

None of Iowa’s starters played more than 26 ½ minutes.

The Hawkeyes (22-5 overall, 13-3 Big Ten) hadn’t played in almost a week, but any rest this time of year — and certainly any easy game — is welcome.

“I think this time of year, you need less reps and more rest,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “So, for us to be able to have five players come off the bench and have double-figure minutes, that’s pretty big.”

Bluder got to use her entire roster — it’s what happens when you lead all but 26 seconds of the game and the game wasn’t close after the first 13 minutes — as the Hawkeyes clinched a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament coming up in two weeks.

It was Iowa’s 35th consecutive home win, the second-longest active streak among NCAA Division I women’s teams.

Penn State (7-20, 1-15), which lost its 12th consecutive game, wasn’t expected to give the Hawkeyes much of a challenge, but the Nittany Lions were within 22-18 with 8:38 left in the first half before Iowa closed the half on a 27-8 run.

“At this time of year, you want to get better,” Bluder said. “You want to just take every opportunity — you’re on the court to make yourself better. It’s not really playing against the other person, it’s playing against yourself. Sometimes that’s hard to do, to stay motivated and play your hardest when you’ve got a big lead. Right now, we’re trying to not only beat Penn State, but to beat Minnesota and Rutgers (next week) and to do well in the Big Ten tournament and postseason play."

Marshall started the run with a 3-pointer, her second of the game. She would finish with nine points after going through a six-game stretch in which she scored just 11 points.

“It’s always nice to see the first one go down,” Marshall said. “I’ve been in a slump, so it was nice to see a few actually go in.”

The Hawkeyes controlled the game from that point. They shot better than 60 percent in the second and fourth quarters, and shot 54.9 percent for the game.

"I thought we dominated the entire game," Bluder said.

Iowa had 54 points inside and 16 second-chance points.

“I think we were just moving the ball well, running in transition hard,” said senior guard Kathleen Doyle, who scored 18 points.

“I just think it’s just experience, right?” Bluder said of her team’s offense, which reached 100 points for the fourth time this season. “You get more reps, you get better at making reads. I just feel like our team right now is pushing the ball well in transition. We had high-percentage shots, we dominated in the paint, we got offensive putback points, which is really good for us.”

Monika Czinano led the Hawkeyes with 23 points. Warnock and Makenzie Meyer each had 10.