Iowa Women May Be Without a Key Starter For Huge Game Tonight
The Iowa women's basketball team has a big game tonight, with an opportunity to knock off an undefeated top-5 opponent on national television. The Hawkeyes need everyone in this one, but will one of the team's top players be healthy enough to play?
The Hawks have had a nice break after an overtime battle in East Lansing, Michigan last Wednesday night. The game featured 18 lead changes and 11 ties before Iowa prevailed over Michigan State by a final score of 84-81. Unfortunately for Iowa, the game included a key player getting injured.
Iowa senior forward McKenna Warnock was injured in the opening minute of the 3rd quarter of the game against the Spartans. Warnock collided with a Michigan State player attempting to set a screen. The Spartans player was called for an offensive foul after Warnock fell to the floor. She injured her ribs and didn't return.
Warnock, #14 below, is a 6'1" senior who averages 11.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. She's shooting 44 percent from 3-point range.
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder calls Warnock day-to-day. Even if she can play for the Hawkeyes tonight, she likely won't be at full strength. Who will Iowa ask to help fill the void? It will likely be first-year player Hannah Stuelke.
Stuelke, from Cedar Rapids, has played just under 100 minutes in Big Ten play this season. In those games, she's averaging 9 points and 5.4 rebounds. Stuelke (#45) has averaged only 12.5 minutes in Big Ten games. Expect to see more of her tonight.
The 10th-ranked Hawkeyes are 15-4. Iowa's leading scorer is junior guard Caitlin Clark (#22), who averages 26.7 points per game. Senior center Monika Czinano averages 17.9.
Tonight's Iowa-Ohio State women's game will be televised by ESPN 2. Tip-off is 6 p.m. Iowa time.