Since she obtained to Iowa, senior ahead Monika Czinano has performed behind some stars.
As a freshman, she backed up nationwide participant of the 12 months Megan Gustafson. The subsequent 12 months program nice Kathleen Doyle topped the statistics column for the Hawkeyes, with Czinano proper behind her. In 2020-2021, freshman Caitlin Clark was the workforce’s prime scorer, the place she has remained for the final three years, with Czinano proper behind her as she opted to play a fifth season.
Receiving second billing to teammates has by no means bothered the Minnesota native. The truth is, as Iowa prepares to face South Carolina within the nationwide semifinals tomorrow, Czinano would moderately not discuss herself.
“I really like the workforce (and I) hate making it a person factor,” she stated. “I find it irresistible when it’s Iowa vs. South Carolina, when it’s all of our workforce; I identical to speaking about that extra. I perceive, to a sure extent, how good I’m and the way my improvement has occurred. However I simply love my workforce, and I would like them to get the credit score they deserve.”
However regardless of what number of occasions Czinano is requested to speak about Clark, who has received three nationwide participant of the 12 months awards this week, the reality is that with out her, the Hawkeyes wouldn’t be again within the Ultimate 4 for the primary time in 30 years.
Czinano’s greatness lies in her consistency. During the last 4 seasons she has shot 67-68 % from the sphere, as one of many prime three scorers in Division I. She has averaged at the least 28 minutes in a beginning function, has scored round 20 factors per recreation, and has grabbed 5-6 rebounds. She has been the bedrock that has allowed the remainder of her teammates to shine.
Coach Lisa Bluder stated Czinano is essentially the most unassuming star a workforce might have.
“She’s lead america in area objective proportion for years, however Monika doesn’t even notice how good she is,” Bluder stated. “That’s what’s so humorous about her and Caitlin, is that they’re so totally different. Caitlin understands she’s good, and she or he’s assured. Truthfully, Monika simply goes out and performs.”
Redshirt sophomore Kate Martin agrees.
“She undoubtedly doesn’t understand how good she is, and I believe that’s what you like about her,” Martin stated. “She’s somewhat naive with regards to that. It’s hilarious.”
She characterised Czinano as not solely an ideal participant, however an ideal teammate, and somebody who doesn’t entertain damaging speak.
“She’s going to all the time be the primary to construct you up and provide you with a excessive 5 in case you make a mistake, and she or he’s simply enjoyable to play with,” Martin stated. “She’s been main the nation in area objective proportion, and she or he by no means even talks about it. She’s essentially the most humble particular person, and she or he’s the sweetest particular person.”
Czinano stated she knew the Hawkeyes have been constructing one thing particular since 2019, once they performed within the Candy 16. Then issues went into excessive gear when Clark was added to the combo in 2020.
“I believe the second Caitlin obtained to campus, she type of had us all begin to imagine, which was one thing tremendous particular,” Czinano stated.
In main as much as tomorrow’s showdown, Clark has been pitted towards the opposite most important participant of the 12 months candidate in Gamecock ahead Aliyah Boston. Bluder isn’t shopping for it.
“Individuals examine Caitlin to Aliyah, and to me that’s apples to oranges,” she stated. “It is mindless. They’re utterly totally different gamers. They (play) utterly totally different positions. They’re each nice at what they do, however what they do is totally different. So I don’t assume you possibly can examine the 2 of them.”
Czinano is the one who will probably have her arms full with Boston, who averages 13.2 factors, 9.8 rebounds and a couple of blocks per recreation. However like her gamers, Bluder is specializing in a workforce strategy to the matchup.
“To me it’s not Caitlin vs. Aliyah, it’s Iowa vs. South Carolina, and we’ve to keep in mind that,” she stated. “What we have to do to achieve success is we’ve to verify we field out. We now have to be sure that different individuals are hitting three’s, and never simply Caitlin.”
When all is alleged and performed this weekend, Czinano stated she hopes to have made a constructive distinction for her teammates, and the Hawkeye program.
“I simply hope (I’m regarded as) anyone who lifted the workforce (to heights) they didn’t assume they might attain earlier than,” she stated. “Someone who performed basketball with pleasure, carefree. I simply actually put on my coronary heart on my sleeve after I play, and I believe that’s why individuals like to see it. And simply to my teammates: I hope they consider me as an ideal teammate.”
Martin stated that although Czinano will probably be drafted into the WNBA subsequent month, she is aware of her good friend will discover success on and off the court docket.
“I believe her potential is thru the roof, and what’s superior about her is that anytime she units a objective or she needs to realize one thing, she’s going to do it,” Martin stated. “Off the court docket she needs to be a health care provider, and I do know she’ll try this. I’m actually happy with her.”
Iowa and South Carolina play tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.