Hannah Stuelke’s consistent scoring leads Iowa women’s basketball to win over UConn in Final Four

In the biggest win of the season thus far for the Iowa women’s basketball team, star guard Caitlin Clark didn’t lead the Hawkeyes. 

It was Hannah Stuelke.

The second-year forward recorded a game-high 23 points during the team’s 71-69 win against UConn in the Final Four on Friday night. The win guided the Hawkeyes to their second straight national championship appearance.

“I thought Hannah played amazing tonight,” head coach Lisa Bluder said in the post-game press conference. “I was so pleased with her growth tonight, and as a young sophomore, she took another big leap tonight.”


Stuelke reached the 20-point mark for the eighth time this season, and her performance Friday night was just the second time this season that Clark wasn’t the leading scorer for Iowa. Stuelke scored a career-high 47 points against Penn State on Feb. 8.

“I think Hannah’s tremendous,” Clark said following her 21-point, nine-rebound performance. “ She played with a different energy about herself, and she knew she could go in there and dominate.”

Stuelke’s scoring abilities kept Iowa in the game during the first half, as Clark was held to just six points on 3-of-11 shooting after the first two quarters.

“I thought she played amazing and battled inside for some tough shots,” guard Kate Martin said. “ Some of us guards were struggling to score at times, and I thought she did a good job of taking them off the bounce and finishing around the rim.”

The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native got most of her buckets — like she typically does — running in transition and snagging Clark’s Patrick Mahomes-esque passes to score on fastbreak layups.

“I think from the start I was being aggressive,” Stuelke said. “ I thought I prepared better for this game than I did for the last.”

Stuelke also wasn’t afraid of backing down All-Big East forward Aaliyah Edwards in the post and played a pivotal role in getting Edwards into foul trouble late in the game.

“She goes toe to toe with Aaliyah Edwards, who in my mind, is one of the best players in the country,” Clark said.  She was physical with her and guarded her well, and [Hannah] was definitely the difference maker.”

Associate head coach Jan Jensen said Stuelke was the one consistent scorer Iowa had going for them in the first half and said she remained as such until her teammates got in rhythm.

“She’s an absolute beast, and it’s great to see this happen because we all know how hard she works in practice to make us better,” guard Kylie Feuerbach said. “ She’s just an athletic post that can do a lot of stuff for us both defensively and offensively.”

Bluder said the biggest thing that has got in the way of Stuelke is her confidence.

“She is a beautiful athlete, an explosive athlete, and she’s just held herself back,” Bluder said. “We’ve tried to talk to her about positive self-talk instead of negative self-talk and [instilling]  into her that you can be such a beast if you want to be.”

Guard Sydney Affolter said having a performance like this for Stuelke will do great things for her confidence heading into Sunday’s matchup against undefeated South Carolina.

“The biggest thing about Hannah is that we know how good she is, it’s just that she needs to believe that every single night out,” fifth-year senior Gabbie Marshall said. “I mean, she just did that against UConn — I don’t think that that’s really soaked in for her yet [that] she did that against the best of the best.”

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