No. 6 Iowa women's basketball overwhelms Rutgers for easy win

Dargan Southard
Des Moines Register

IOWA CITY — Those hoping to squeeze in an efficient trip to Carver-Hawkeye Arena before the Super Bowl commenced got exactly what they wanted Sunday afternoon.

The No. 6 Iowa women’s basketball team overwhelmed short-handed Rutgers from the opening tip and never looked back, cruising to a 111-57 win in the Hawkeyes’ annual Pink Game. The win saw Iowa (20-5, 12-2 Big Ten Conference) set a program record for points in a Big Ten game.

"There were just a lot of good things," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "We shot the ball extremely well. We had a great atmosphere today for our pink game, which we really appreciate."

With Iowa rocking pink jerseys for the third straight game, the Hawkeyes made sure no drama spilled into Sunday’s Super Bowl buildup. Iowa owned an 11-point lead after a quarter and a robust 60-28 advantage at halftime. Its cushion never dipped below 30 after intermission.

A riveting first half opened things up beyond anything Rutgers could repair. Iowa piled up a 31-10 advantage in the second quarter while overpowering Rutgers from every angle. The scoring output extended well beyond Caitlin Clark and Monika Czinano too, headlined by Molly Davis’ 13 first-half points on 4-for-5 shooting.

"I actually came in this game not trying to think about it too much," said Davis, who set her Iowa career-high with 17 points. "I've struggled the past few games, so I was just trying to get out of my head a little bit. Once I saw that first shot go in, I had a lot of confidence. And my teammates were finding me."

Contributions were aplenty elsewhere. The Iowa bench accounted for 29 of the Hawkeyes’ 60 first-half points, and finished with a 61-9 scoring edge overall, while running the show for several extended stretches. The starters sat for the entire fourth quarter.

Reaching double digits alongside Davis were Hannah Stuelke (10 points) and Taylor McCabe (12 points). Stuelke's biggest ovation arrived with two third-quarter swishes at the line, which snapped her streak of 10 consecutive missed free throws. McCabe had her Iowa teammates popping off the bench with a 4-for-7 showing from downtown.

"It's pretty challenging being a shooter in my position," McCabe said, "just coming off the bench and my first touch be at full sprint when I haven't really stood up for that long. That's tough, but it's why in my workouts, I try to simulate things as much as I can. I know it'll be important for me going forward. It's been a big learning process, and it's been really good for me so far."

The Hawkeyes’ program pillars still got theirs. Clark dazzled a pink-heavy crowd with several impressive outlet passes that nearly gave her a double-double in the first half. She secured that three minutes into the third en route to 15 points and 10 assists. Czinano bounced back from her tough night at Indiana with 14 points and five boards.

With Rutgers (10-16, 4-10) stuck in a tough rebuild following the retirement of legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer, the outcome of this one was basically pre-determined before any time rolled off the clock. The Scarlet Knights have just eight players on their roster and have struggled to find any consistency this season.

Iowa did what it needed to do in a lopsided affair — get up big early, empty the bench and avoid any injury issues. The Hawkeyes have another favorable matchup Wednesday against Wisconsin before a tricky road trip next Saturday at Nebraska.    

"You want to use these games to get better for the future — to build your confidence back certainly — but also to execute," Bluder said. "You could come out here and play sloppy and maybe still win. But we didn't do that."

Dargan Southard is a sports trending reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.