Film Breakdown: Northwestern takes down Iowa Jan. 6

By Ally Navarrete

In arguably its best game of the season so far, Northwestern women’s basketball defeated the then-No. 22 Iowa Hawkeyes 77-69 in Iowa City Jan. 6. Veronica Burton led the way for the Wildcats with a monstrous performance, racking up 25 points, six rebounds, six assists and eight steals. 

This Friday, the ‘Cats have a chance to snap a three-game losing streak and repeat the victory, this time in Welsh-Ryan Arena. It certainly won’t be easy for them to get a win over this extremely talented No. 23 Hawkeye team. And its sophomore superstar Caitlin Clark is on a tear – she’s recently become the first player in D1 history to have back-to-back 30-point triple-doubles. Across the team’s two wins last week over Nebraska and Minnesota, she recorded 66 points, 23 rebounds and 21 assists. Wow. 

That isn’t to say the Wildcats can’t do this again. In the Jan. 6 game, Clark had 30 points, and the ‘Cats still came out on top. Here’s a look into some highlights from the last match-up to see what the ‘Cats can do to take down the Hawkeyes in game two.  

1. Monika Czinano in the paint 
Monika Czinano gets it done in the paint for the Hawkeyes. (Credit: B1G Network)

In this sequence, the Hawkeyes had incredible court vision to find Czinano down low. And, despite having multiple NU defenders on her, Iowa trusted Czinano enough to give her the tough shot. She proved that it was the right choice. 

It’s easier said than done, but The Blizzard will undoubtedly have to be ready to contain Czinano down low. In this match-up, she had 20 points, shooting 8-of-14 from the field. The senior averages 20.4 ppg with an impressive 64.9 FG%.

2. Veronica Burton shows us she’s great under pressure
Veronica Burton nails a shot from way beyond the arc just in time. (Credit: B1G Network)

With less than a minute to go in the second quarter and about five seconds left on the shot clock, Melannie Daley dishes it back to the player that Northwestern looks to for offensive leadership: Burton. And she delivers, stepping back for a DEEP three. 

Burton’s shown us that she isn’t afraid to take a tough shot. To keep up with Iowa’s talented three-point shooting, the ‘Cats will have to look to Burton for more shots like this and find alternatives from deep when she’s not available. Not keeping up from beyond the arc hurt NU on Sunday against Maryland, so players who can drain threes, like Caileigh Walsh and Laya Hartman, are going to have to step up and hit their shots. 

3. Caitlin Clark. That’s all.
Caitlin Clark shows off her ball-handling skills and gets around the NU defense. (Credit: B1G Network)

We know she’s good. And this highlight is just ridiculous. 

Clark essentially had to get through Burton up top, then deal with Walsh and Jillian Brown down low. Instead of feeding the ball elsewhere, she manages to break some ankles and take a shot of her own. The ‘Cats are left scrambling. 

While she’s excellent from deep, this clip shows that Clark can also do some serious damage with her ball-handling. 

4. The ‘Cats need to push the pace in transition
Veronica Burton secures a rebound and gets the ball to Courtney Shaw in transition. (Credit: B1G Network)

Northwestern needs to capitalize on defensive rebounds. In this sequence, Burton uses her incredible court vision to quickly push the ball up to Courtney Shaw right under the basket. An easy two. 

Given the offensive struggles the ‘Cats have faced lately, they can’t afford to grab a significant rebound and not convert. The Burton to Shaw feed is a great way for Northwestern to rack up some two-pointers, so the team will need to make more plays like this to keep up with the high-powered Hawkeye offense. 

5. What a game this was for Melannie Daley! 
Melannie Daley fakes out Caitlin Clark and hits a jumper from the charity stripe. (Credit: B1G Network)

The first-year was ON FIRE during this game. She knocked down a career-high 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Mid-range is Daley’s sweet spot, and she was nailing shots like this all night in Iowa City. She might be a first-year, but she showed no fear when taking this shot with Clark guarding her. They do say confidence is key. 

Daley is a terrific option to support Burton on offense. If the ‘Cats can feed her from midrange, they’ll be able to generate some more offensive firepower on Friday. 

6. The Backcourt Burglar (couldn’t leave this one out)
Veronica Burton adds to her career-high eight steals in this game late in the fourth quarter. (Credit: B1G Network)

Not too much to say here – the clip speaks for itself. Burton is the back-to-back B1G Defensive Player of the Year for a reason: she pulls off moves like this. 

And in addition to being a fantastic steal, she’s able to convert and get something going on offense. If Veronica Burton plays anything like she did on Jan. 6 this Friday, the Hawkeyes better watch out.

Tune in this Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. CT to catch the action as these two teams face each other yet again. Eric Rynston-Lobel and Bradley Locker will have the call for WNUR Sports on Mixlr.