Fantasy Basketball

NCAAW Iowa vs. Indiana recap: Monica Czinano leads fourth-quarter rally as Hawkeyes earn second-straight win

Dueling trends met in Iowa City as the Hawkeyes welcomed the Hoosiers to Carver-Hawkeye Arena Monday.

No. 21 Iowa entered the game having won 20 of its last 21 home contests against Indiana. The Hawkeyes had also just beaten the Hoosiers two days prior in Bloomington. But that Saturday victory was Iowa’s first victory over a ranked opponent all season. Meanwhile, No. 10 Indiana — winners of three contests against top-25 teams in 2021-22 — hadn’t lost back-to-back games all season.

With a 47-30 second half, the Hawkeyes kept their momentum, tiring out a Hoosier team that was playing its ninth game in 22 days. Iowa (18-7, 12-4 in Big Ten) won 88-82, moving into a three-way tie for second place in the conference with Ohio State and Maryland. Indiana (19-6, 11-4 in Big Ten) falls a half-game behind into fifth place.

Monica Czinano led the way for the Hawkeyes, posting a double-double of 31 points and 10 rebounds after putting up 22 points and six rebounds two days prior. Caitlin Clark added 29 points, while Grace Berger led the way for the Hoosiers with 22.

After a 96-91 matchup in their first meeting, this game started off at a similar pace. That frenetic energy is how Iowa wants to play, given its predilection for high scores and how many games Indiana has played recently, but it didn’t exactly work in the Hawkeyes’ favor as they couldn’t stop turning the ball over. Several of their miscues were unforced errors, just bad passes in transition or ambitious attempts in the half court.

The Hoosiers were complicit in several of those giveaways, too. They smartly doubled the post, particularly in the first half, and were able to either take the ball away directly or get in the passing lanes when Iowa tried to find the open player. The Hawkeyes ended the game with 21 turnovers, and Indiana scored 30 off of them.

Caitlin Clark had seven of those turnovers, as she faced relentless pressure from Nicole Cardaño-Hillary all night. The Hoosier grad student was tasked with defending the national player of the year candidate and did well to get into the body of the Hawkeye sophomore despite giving up six inches.

Cardaño-Hillary finished with 15 points, four assists, and three steals in a losing effort. She also drew two offensive fouls on Clark for throwing an elbow in her face, one of which resulted in a technical on Clark just as Iowa was mounting a run in the third quarter. Clark could have been whistled for another push-off offensive foul late in the fourth that went uncalled as the Hawkeyes retained a three-point lead.

Iowa was able to build that lead thanks to the monster offensive performance from Czinano, particularly in the fourth quarter. It had been a game of runs throughout, as each team had multiple spurts of nine or more points. The Hawkeyes made their run in the fourth, scoring 11 points over four and a half minutes, and Czinano was at the center of it with nine of her 31 points in that stretch.

Czinano was able to foul out Kiandra Browne and Mackenzie Holmes, who could only play for three minutes at a time, and ate against a limited Hoosier frontcourt. She scored off duck-ins, well-placed entry passes, and rolls to the basket, finishing 13-of-17 field goals. Czinano also earned seven trips to the free-throw line, as Iowa kept Indiana in foul trouble for most of the night.

The Hawkeyes also benefited from the return of McKenna Warnock, who had missed four games before returning for this set against Indiana. Warnock had 21 points, six rebounds, and five assists in the first win, and followed that up with 16 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists Monday.

The Hoosiers have one game remaining at Maryland to get back into the conference’s top four and earn a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament. Iowa goes to Rutgers and then hosts No. 6 Michigan to finish its regular season.

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