Iowa women’s basketball media day 2023-24: How will the pieces of the post puzzle fit?

Iowa’s Monika Czinano (25) smiles as Addison O'Grady (44) takes over for her on the court in last year’s NCAA women’s basketball championship game in Dallas. With Czinano graduated, O’Grady is the likely heir apparent in the post. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — One of many themes from Wednesday’s early-morning, early-October Iowa girls’s basketball media roundup was truly two themes:

Believers. And doubters.

There are extra of the previous, after all.

Large Ten coaches and media consider. Each teams have picked the Hawkeyes because the preseason favorites for the upcoming season.

Followers consider. The ticket depend for “Crossover at Kinnick” — an exhibition sport in opposition to DePaul on Oct. 15 — has surpassed 47,000, and that quantity will rise.

Oh, and all 14 video games at Carver-Hawkeye Enviornment iare bought out.

“There may be going to be a variety of outdoors noise,” Gabbie Marshall mentioned. “There are going to be a variety of doubters.”

Wait, what?

“Folks wish to give attention to what we’ve misplaced as a substitute of what we nonetheless have,” Marshall continued. “We now have a variety of gamers which can be prepared and hungry.”

The Hawkeyes are solely six months (and two days, however who’s counting?) faraway from the conclusion of their most profitable season in class historical past. They gained a school-record 31 video games — in opposition to seven losses — and superior to the ultimate sport of the NCAA match earlier than dropping to LSU.

Lisa Bluder mentioned Wednesday that it’s inconceivable to check seasons and groups. And he or she made a plea.

“I will ask you, I’d even beg you, to not evaluate (our posts) to Monika (Czinano),” she mentioned. “Comparisons do not do anyone any good, so simply give (them) a bit of little bit of time.”

Iowa’s A.J. Ediger, Sharon Goodman and forward Jada Gyamfi pose for a portrait during the University of Iowa women’s basketball media day Wednesday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

Nonetheless, the efficiency and progress of Iowa’s paint posse — Addison O’Grady, A.J. Ediger and Sharon Goodman — shall be a figuring out issue on whether or not the Hawkeyes can stay among the many nation’s elite.

“We’d like our posts to achieve success, and all three of them have been actually good up to now (in observe),” mentioned senior level guard Caitlin Clark, the reigning nationwide participant of the yr. “It’s undoubtedly a piece in progress.”

O’Grady seems to have the within monitor for the beginning job.

“No concept the way it’s going to shake out,” Goodman mentioned. “(O’Grady) did superb (in the course of the summer time European tour). All of us have our strengths across the basket, and all of us can have a chance.”

The beginning backcourt is about. Clark is again for her fourth season, Marshall her fifth, Kate Martin her sixth.

“Kate and Gabbie are going to have to maneuver into extra outstanding roles,” Clark mentioned.

Pencil in Hannah Stuelke because the starter at energy ahead, changing the graduated McKenna Warnock. A sophomore from Cedar Rapids, Stuelke endeared herself to the Carver plenty final season along with her athleticism and talent to run the ground.

“I needed to get stronger, a bit of larger,” she mentioned, flexing her arms. “I believe the power truly made me sooner.

“I’m excited to point out everybody the brand new me.”

Which is …

“You’ll see,” she mentioned. “It’s a shock.”

Along with how the submit puzzle shakes out, the rotation is prone to embody guards Molly Davis, Sydney Affolter, Kylie Feuerbach and long-range sniper Taylor McCabe.

The countdown to the Crossover is on, lower than two weeks away. Iowa begins for actual Nov. 6 at dwelling in opposition to Fairleigh Dickinson.

That memorable run by Minneapolis, Seattle and Dallas is a reminiscence now. Buckle up for one more present, whether or not you’re a believer or a doubter.

“Each journey is totally different,” Clark mentioned. “There are all the time ups and downs. There shall be onerous losses and nice wins. That’s basketball.”

Iowa girls’s basketball 2023-24

Coach: Lisa Bluder (twenty fourth season at Iowa, 494-249; fortieth season general, 851-387)

Final yr: 31-7 (15-3 in Large Ten, T-2nd), Large Ten match champion, NCAA match runner-up

High returners: G Caitlin Clark, G Kate Martin, G Gabbie Marshall, F Hannah Stuelke

Schedule highlights: Oct. 15 — DePaul (exhibition), at Kinnick Stadium, 2 p.m.; Nov. 6 — Fairleigh Dickinson (season opener), TBA; Nov. 9 — vs. Virginia Tech (at Charlotte, N.C.), TBA; Nov. 12 — at UNI, TBA; Nov. 19 — Drake, 4 p.m.; Dec. 6 — at Iowa State, TBA; Jan. 13 — Indiana, 7 p.m.; Feb. 22 — at Indiana, 7 p.m.; March 3 — Ohio State, midday; March 6-10 — Large Ten match, at Minneapolis

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