Iowa women crush Florida Gulf Coast 100-62, giving Lisa Bluder her 500th win as Iowa head coach
Iowa earns rematch with Kansas State in Gulf Coast Showcase title game
By Susan Harman
This one was never close, and that’s probably OK with Iowa coach Lisa Bluder. No need to sweat the small stuff like one victory, especially when you’ve just racked up your 500th as Iowa coach.
Bluder’s record at Iowa is 500-250. Overall, she has coached 866 victories as a college head coach.
“Anytime you hit one of these milestones, it just gives you time to reflect and to remember all the people that were part of it,” Bluder told the Hawkeye Radio Network. “I’ve been surrounded and just blessed with a great staff. I’ve been blessed with wonderful players. I’m just so thankful for these women that have worked so hard to help put Iowa on the map (for) women’s basketball.”
Iowa All American Caitlin Clark was asked by Flohoops.com for her reaction to Bluder’s achievement.
“It’s amazing. I mean I was only a part of a few of them,” Clark said. “It’s incredible. She deserves it. I hope she enjoys this one and lets it soak in because of what she’s been able to do. I mean, all she does is win and it’s pretty incredible.”
Iowa put itself into the Gulf Coast Showcase championship game by beating Florida Gulf Coast 100-62 Saturday night in Estero, Fla. The Hawkeyes will meet a familiar foe, Kansas State, which defeated North Carolina 63-56 in the other semifinal.
The Wildcats beat Iowa 65-58 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Nov. 16 and here we are 10 days later to see if the Hawkeyes can flip the script.
Iowa got to the rematch because it shot the lights out, starters and reserves alike.
“We just shot the ball really well, especially in that first half,” Bluder said.
Iowa shot 62 percent from the field and 53 percent behind the arc in the first half in racking up a 55-19 lead. The Hawkeyes finished shooting 61 percent overall and from 3-point range. The team’s 3-point percentage was the best this season, and the 20 made threes (out of 33) is a school record.
Notable among the long-distance shooters was sophomore Taylor McCabe who drilled 6-of-7 threes and finished with a career-high 18 points. McCabe was almost unconscious in the second half, making all five of her 3-point attempts.
“Oh, it was so fun,” McCabe told the radio network. “You could just tell we had a different type of energy coming in tonight and everybody got a chance to play and got an opportunity. I think that gets everyone on the team fired up.
“I put in a lot of work on the outside and I think that always shows whenever I step out on the court.”
Syd Affolter made all three of her 3-point shots; Gabbie Marshall was 4-for-5; Clark was 4-for-8 and Kylie Feuerbach made 2-of-4.
Clark led the team with 21 points but five players scored at least 11. Marshall and Affolter had 12 apiece and Kate Martin scored 11.
Iowa outrebounded FGCU by 23, which was predictable given the height advantage Iowa had. But Bluder was also pumped about an Iowa defense that held the run-and-gun Eagles to 33 percent shooting and only 23 percent behind the arc.
“Both offensively and defensively we controlled the boards,” Bluder said. “So it gave us more opportunities to shoot the ball.”
“I think it started on the defensive end,” Clark told Flohoops.com. “I thought we played really good defense and they’re a really good team.”
The event saw a record attendance of 4,287 in an arena used by a minor league hockey team.
Bluder was asked by Flohoops.com about facing K-State again.
“They’re such a good defensive team; they’re so long and Ayoka Lee is just a force inside,” Bluder said. “It’s going to be a tough battle. They had our number last week, so who knows?”
“I think we’re excited,” Clark said. “I think we understand the K-State game at home we weren’t really ourselves. Anytime you lose to somebody and you get another chance to play them you get excited about it.”
Kansas State is ranked 16th after going unbeaten and winning at Iowa.
NOTE: Hannah Stuelke did not dress for the game. Iowa has not released any more information about her status. It’s believed she has a leg injury suffered in the Friday night game.