INDIANAPOLIS — Exactly one week ago, the Iowa Hawkeyes were cutting down the nets in their own arena after being crowned Big Ten regular season co-champions, but a number of the players lamented one thing about their celebration: the lack of confetti falling onto the court to liven up the aesthetics. One week later, the Hawkeyes stormed through Indianapolis and earned another championship they will take home to Iowa City.
This time, cue the confetti!
Monika Czinano scored 30 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in leading second-seeded Iowa to a 74-67 victory over the No. 5 seed Indiana Hoosiers in the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament championship game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday. Caitlin Clark, the nation’s leading scorer, was held to just 6-of-17 shooting and 18 points against a staunch Hoosier defense, but all the attention paid to Clark opened things up for the Hawkeyes to utilize their underrated weapon on the inside.
Czinano, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, more than picked up the slack, scoring 16 first-half points before dominating the fourth quarter with her scoring and passing out of the post. She went 13-of-18 from the field against the Hoosiers, and shot an astounding 75.6 percent from the floor (31-for-41) in the three tournament games.
It was Clark who won the tournament’s Most outstanding Player, however, and she had to overcome a couple of offensive fouls and in-your-shirt physical defense all game from Indiana guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary to keep her composure long enough to see the game out. She finished the tournament with 78 points in three games, including the 41 she posted against Nebraska in the semifinals.
“I think this team has done a tremendous job of really enjoying last Sunday, but at the same time, putting it behind us and coming into this Sunday wanting to do it all over again. But with confetti this time, ” Clark said. ”We didn’t have confetti at home. At home, we had 15,000 fans, but no confetti. So, I guess we got the best of both worlds.”
In defeating the Hoosiers for a third time in a span of 15 days, Iowa won its third Big Ten Tournament title and its first since the Megan Gustafson-led team of 2019.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday’s championship game, with the photos taken by Detroit-area photographer Aaron J. Thornton. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 21 pictures in total.