Iowa women's basketball reached the Final Four in 1993. How does their run compare?

Will Kennedy
Des Moines Register

It's been 30 years since the Iowa women's basketball team was in the Final Four, but Friday night the Hawkeyes will again take the court on the nation's biggest stage.

This marks the second time in program history Iowa has made the national semifinals, with the other time coming in 1993. That means a lot of Iowa fans either weren't born or don't remember the last time their favorite team made it this far in the tournament.

So, let's have a brief history lesson on those Hawkeyes and see how their records match up with this year's group.

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What was the record of the 1993 Iowa women's basketball team?

The first Hawkeye team to make it to the Final Four finished the season with a 27-4 record and a 16-2 mark in the Big Ten Conference. That was good enough for a share of the Big Ten title, sharing the honor with Ohio State. The conference basketball tournament didn't begin until two years later in 1995.

The 2023 team has racked up a record of 30-6 (entering the Final Four) and was 15-3 in Big Ten play this season. They finished the regular season in second place in the conference standings but won the tournament title and have been on a tear ever since.

Who was the coach of the 1993 Iowa women's basketball team?

C. Vivian Stringer led the Hawkeyes in 1993. She coached the program from 1983 until 1995 when she accepted the same job at Rutgers. In Iowa City, she racked up a record of 269-84 and a 169-45 mark in the Big Ten to go along with at least a share of six Big Ten titles. She retired from coaching in 2022 after spending 27 years with the Scarlet Knights.

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The 2023 team is led by Lisa Bluder, who is in her 23rd season leading the program. She's earned a coaching record of 493-245 throughout her time with the Hawkeyes, including 247-142 in Big Ten play. She's also claimed at least a share of six Big Ten titles between the regular season and conference tournament.

Who was the star player of the 1993 Iowa women's basketball team?

Much like this season, the 1993 squad had plenty of players who were able to step up when the moment called for it. But also like this season, one player stood out among the rest.

Toni Foster was the leader of that first Final Four team. She was an AP All-American, a finalist for the Player of the Year and the Big Ten's Player of the Year in 1993. During her senior season of 1993, she led the team in scoring (15.7 ppg), rebounding (8.2 per game) and blocks (1.3 per game). She had nine double-doubles in her final year with the Hawkeyes.

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There's no debate on who this year's star player is. Caitlin Clark is one of the biggest names in college basketball, regardless of gender. She leads the team in scoring (27.3 ppg), assists (8.6 per game) and is tied for first in steals (1.6 per game). She's a finalist for Naismith Player of the Year, which will be announced Wednesday, and has won just about every award a college basketball player can win.

What seed was the 1993 Iowa women's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament?

The Hawkeyes did enough in the regular season to earn a 2-seed in the Big Dance. The 2023 team has made its run from the same seeding position.

Who did the 1993 Iowa women's basketball team beat to reach the Final Four?

The 1993 team had an objectively much more difficult path to the Final Four than the current team did based on the seeding of the opposition. However, there were fewer teams in the tournament back then and the top three seeds in each region got a bye in the opening round.

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  • Second round: No. 2 Iowa 82, No. 7 Old Dominion 56
  • Sweet 16: No. 2 Iowa 63, No. 3 Auburn 50
  • Elite Eight: No. 2 Iowa 72, No. 1 Tennessee 56
  • Final Four: No. 1 Ohio State 73, No. 2 Iowa 72 (OT)

Here's how the 2023 team has carved a path back to the Final Four

  • Round of 64: No. 2 Iowa 95, No. 15 Southeastern Louisiana 43
  • Round of 32: No. 2 Iowa 74, No. 10 Georgia 66
  • Sweet 16: No. 2 Iowa 87, No. 6 Colorado 77
  • Elite Eight: No. 2 Iowa 97, No. 5 Louisville 83
  • Final Four: No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 2 Iowa, Friday at approximately 8:30 p.m.