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Iowa women's basketball: Hawkeyes rout Minnesota behind big third quarter

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

Looking to bounce back against a team spinning its tires in the Big Ten, Iowa didn't need any drama Sunday at Minnesota. 

A big third quarter took care of that. 

The Hawkeyes zoomed past the Golden Gophers, 94-68, at Williams Arena for a nice rebound following Thursday's tough loss against No. 23 Northwestern. A 28-8 third-quarter edge gave Iowa (10-4, 6-4 Big Ten Conference) the necessary separation to turn Sunday's afternoon affair into a runaway blowout. 

The usual contributors buoyed Iowa's emphatic victory. Minnesota native Monika Czinano again shined in her homecoming, pouring in a team-high 23 points on 11-for-14 shooting. Dating back to the Northwestern game, Czinano has missed just five of her previous 33 field-goal attempts. 

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder talks with players in a timeout during a NCAA Big Ten Conference women's basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

The junior center got double-digit assistance from Caitlin Clark (22 points, 11 rebounds) McKenna Warnock (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Gabbie Marshall (11 points), which lifted the Hawkeyes to their second win over Minnesota (5-8, 4-7) this month. The Golden Gophers simply didn't have an answer after halftime. 

Entering intermission, though, everything appeared even. The Hawkeyes had a modest 47-41 advantage and appeared destined for another Big Ten grind to the finish line. Could Iowa respond better down the stretch than it had the past few games?

Mission accomplished. 

Minnesota scored the second half's first bucket to climb within four, then gave way to a 19-4 Iowa surge over the next 7 1/2 minutes. It was a run of versatility, as Czinano, Clark, Warnock, Marshall, Sharon Goodman and Tomi Taiwo all scored on the run. Three of Iowa's nine treys came during this game-swinging segment. 

By then, Minnesota was buried in the dust. The Golden Gophers sputtered to the fourth quarter and barely stayed within 30 throughout the final period.

This win won't necessarily pop on Iowa's resume, but it was a needed victory given where the Hawkeyes are in their Big Ten journey. Iowa has another treacherous week ahead, playing at No. 11 Ohio State on Thursday and hosting No. 15 Indiana next Sunday, meaning Iowa didn't need to give away a winnable game on the road.

It didn't, and now the Hawkeyes can push forward refreshed.

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.