“Our circle can’t be bought”: Iowa HC Lisa Bluder reveals what it takes to play for Caitlin Clark’s Hawkeyes amid transfer portal havoc

NCAA WomenNCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament – Final Four Previews

Unlike many other programs, Lisa Bluder’s Iowa did not lose much of its roster following its appearance in the national championship game last season. While starters Monika Czinano and McKenna Warnock graduated, the Hawkeyes stuck with the same roster this season.

Head coach Lisa Bluder said in a recent interview that the Hawkeyes women’s basketball circle needs you to be special to be part of it. The program has over the years been conscious of upholding its recruitment values and Bluder believes it’s a way to guard the circle.

“I think you have to be really special to come into our program. We don’t invite just everybody into our circle. Our circle can’t be bought. It can’t be a thing where you can offer so much money to be a part of our circle. Our circle is really, really special and we’re guarding that.”

Lisa Bluder says Iowa values its people

At a time when players can be easily lured from one program to the other in the collegiate athletics landscape, Iowa women’s basketball isn’t witnessing a high turnover. Lisa Bluder believes this is because the program respects and values everyone within it.

“People are valued in our program,” Bluder said. “I think if you treat people right and they understand how important they are to your success, they genuinely feel like they’re a part of it. I think they’ll stay, I really think it’s as simple as that. It sounds very simple but it is.”

While Iowa players are not moving out via the transfer portal, the program isn’t also acquiring through the same medium. Many expected the Hawkeyes to replace Czinano and Warnock via the portal last year. However, the team stuck to its roster for its new starters.

Nobody saw Iowa in the Final Four once again

Lisa Bluder says her team has triumphed against the odds this season. The coach believes nobody saw them returning to the Final Four this season but there they are with Caitlin Clark working magic.

“When we were here last year, nobody thought we’d be here again this year,” Bluder said. “And we didn’t listen to anybody. We just listened to the people in our locker room and our family and our circle, and here we are again.

So I’m proud of the women and how they kept believing no matter what.”

After reaching the national championship game last season, there were questions about whether Iowa would be able to sustain their success. However, the program has shown its resilience throughout the season and is once again up for the national championship title.

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