Monika Czinano returning to Iowa women's basketball for fifth season

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

There are only two regular-season home games remaining in Iowa's season, but they won't represent the final Carver-Hawkeye Arena action for Monika Czinano.

The all-Big Ten forward officially announced Sunday she will return for a fifth season next year, an option available after the NCAA granted everyone an extra year of eligibility amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many, but not all, athletes have chosen to extend their collegiate careers an extra season — and Czinano's decision to do so is certainly welcomed by Lisa Bluder.

“Being a Hawkeye has been one of the greatest privileges of my life, not only because of basketball but also because of the people that have surrounded me with love and support,” Czinano said in a school release.

“I’m really excited to see where the remainder of the season takes us because we’ve still got a lot to prove. With senior day approaching, people have been asking me a lot of questions and I wanted to clear the air. These have been the best four years of my life, so why switch things up now? I’ll be back again next year.”

The announcement means Iowa likely will return just about every pivotal piece from this season, which still has plenty of lofty expectations out in front. Caitlin Clark and Czinano should again headline the 2022-23 team, with potentially the same entire supporting cast around them. Seniors Tomi Taiwo and Logan Cook also have the same decision to make as Czinano.

Entering Monday's game versus Indiana, Czinano ranked fifth in the Big Ten at 20.2 points per game and third nationally with a 64.9 shooting percentage. She's scored 20-plus points in 15 of Iowa's 24 games this season. 

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.