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Hannah Stuelke stepping up off the bench, showing signs of settling in

On3 imageby:Kyle Huesmann01/11/23


Coach Lisa Bluder and the rest of the Iowa Hawkeye coaching staff have spent much of the first half of the season searching for someone that can be the backup four or five position on the floor. Sophomores Addison O’Grady and AJ Ediger have gotten time on the floor, but since the holiday break it has been the true freshman and Iowa native Hannah Stuelke that has stepped up off the bench.

“I think she’s understanding and buying into her strengths and weaknesses a little bit more,” said Coach Bluder during her weekly meeting with the media. “She’s continuing to work on her weaknesses, but she also understands, ‘what am I really good at?’ and she’s going to do that…things she can do really well, pursue the ball on offense, offensive rebound, post moves, drives to the basket. She does all those things amazingly well.”

Early in the season, Stuelke flashed moments of impressive basketball given her true freshman status. This included combining for 24 points and 14 rebounds in her first two games of the season against Southern and Evansville. However, she also had moments where her inexperience showed. Over her first eight games, Hannah had 12 turnovers in 86 minutes (5.6 per 40 mins). Since then, in the last eight games, Stuelke has just five turnovers in 77 minutes (2.6 per 40 mins).

In the first game back from the Christmas break against Purdue, Stuelke logged her first double-double of her Iowa career with 11 points and ten rebounds. She was able to do it in just 11 minutes on the floor. This past Saturday against Michigan she finished with nine points and four rebounds in nine minutes on the floor.

“I have always felt like freshmen, the light bulb turns on for them right after Christmas. It’s when they finally kind of get an idea of what we’re trying to do with our system,” said Bluder. “At first, you kind of do what we say instead of reading what the defense is doing and once it becomes a habit to do what we say, now you can slow down and read the defense too. That’s when you become the better player in my opinion.”

With the next three games on the schedule coming against unranked opponents, Stuelke will have the chance to continue to build her confidence. She also has the opportunity to be the one to fully take over the role of backup four/five.

“She has assumed that role for us right now. That could change, what happens with Addison, AJ and Sharon? I don’t know. As they progress, that could change,” said Bluder. “Going into Northwestern, Hannah is our backup four and five.”

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