Iowa women's basketball star Caitlin Clark repeats as Big Ten player of the year

Dargan Southard
Des Moines Register

IOWA CITY — If there’s an award given out for least dramatic conference player of the year race, Caitlin Clark will take that one too.

The Iowa women’s basketball superstar was unanimously named Big Ten player of the year Tuesday — her second in in a row. Overall, the Hawkeyes have won five of the last six Big Ten player of the year awards.

Alongside Clark, center Monika Czinano was named a first-team all-conference selection for the fourth consecutive season. Freshman Hannah Stuelke made big waves too by being named conference sixth player of the year. McKenna Warnock was a all-Big Ten honorable mention.

“We’re writing our own story,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said after Sunday’s thrilling win over Indiana. “This team is amazing.”

Caitlin Clark has been everything and then some in her third season

The likely national player of the year has guided the Hawkeyes to another magical run, and she is the main reason why Iowa will host NCAA Tournament games again this year with hopes of a deeper March surge.

Entering this week’s Big Ten Tournament, Clark ranks top-five nationally in 12 statistical categories while being the only player in the country to average better than 20 points (27.2), five assists (8.1) and five rebounds per game (7.4).

Clark has again dominated the Big Ten weekly awards. She was most recently named conference player of the week following Sunday’s buzzer-beater versus No. 2 Indiana. It was the sixth time this season and 18th time overall that Clark has picked up a Big Ten weekly award.

Some of Clark’s best performances this season have come against Iowa’s most daunting foes. Sunday’s win over No. 2 Indiana was Clark’s 12th career 30-point game against an AP-ranked opponent and 15th game this season with at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Add in her game-winning heroics, and it’s easy to see why Clark has become the face of women’s college basketball.

“I’m all about growing the women’s game,” Clark said Sunday, “and I’m glad I’ve given something that little girls can scream about at the top of their lungs. I can imagine when I was younger, I was doing the exact same thing watching on TV. It’s pretty fun.”

Iowa center Monika Czinano, left, and guard Caitlin Clark walk to the bench during a Nov. 10, 2022 game against Evansville at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

Monika Czinano one of Iowa's all-time greats, too

An elite running mate has undoubtedly aided Clark’s ascension.

Entering the postseason, Czinano ranks fourth nationally in field-goal percentage (66.45%) and ninth in the Big Ten at 17.2 points per game. Earlier this season, she became the fifth Iowa women’s basketball player ever to eclipse 2,000 career points.

Czinano’s name is plastered all over national recognition lists as well. The 6-foot-3 center has been named on the watch lists for USWB Ann Meyers Drysdale player of the year and Lisa Leslie Award, as well as the Wooden Award late-season top-20 and the Naismith women’s player of the year midseason team.

“I feel really lucky to play through arguably the most influential time in women’s basketball,” said Czinano, a fifth-year senior. “From when I started (at Iowa) until now, the growth has been absolutely unreal. So being able to end and leave this program in a place where I know it’s in such great hands — and the growth that’s happening to it on a national level is so big — it’s so special.”

Iowa forward Hannah Stuelke (45) shoots the ball during a NCAA Big Ten Conference women's basketball game against Indiana, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

Hannah Stuelke looks to be coming next

Big things were expected out of the heralded freshman from right up the road in Cedar Rapids. The lifelong Iowa fan, who committed to the Hawkeyes as a Cedar Rapids Washington freshman, has given this veteran bunch a new weapon to work with.

Stuelke's speed and versatility are among the many reasons why she averaged eight points and five rebounds per game in Big Ten play as the Hawkeyes' top bench piece. With Czinano gone after this March run, Stuelke has taken the early steps to show she's ready for a centerpiece role in the years ahead.

No. 7 Iowa (23-6) will look to keep another special season going at 5:30 p.m. Friday, when the Hawkeyes face the Purdue-Wisconsin winner in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals at the Target Center in Minneapolis.  

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.