How the Hawkeyes' five senior-day participants left their mark on Iowa women's basketball (2024)

IOWA CITY — Although only two arrived at Iowa in the same recruiting class, the five Hawkeyes who will be honored Sunday have converged to create a robust senior day that'll be full of recognition and emotion.

Together, Kate Martin, Gabbie Marshall, Caitlin Clark, Sharon Goodman and Molly Davis represent everything positive that has helped turn the Hawkeyes into arguably the most popular squad in women's college basketball. During Sunday's game against No. 2 Ohio State and after, this beloved group will take center stage while delighting another raucous Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd from start to finish.

A look at how all five of these Hawkeyes got to this point and how they've left significant marks on Lisa Bluder's program.

Kate Martin, 2018 recruiting class

Although Bluder had plenty of familiarity with Martin long before she arrived in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes' veteran coach couldn't have fully fathomed the type of leader she was signing out of Edwardsville, Illinois.

Martin's Iowa career began with a torn ACL ahead of the Hawkeyes' Elite Eight run in 2019. But without that, she isn't wearing black and gold for this pivotal sixth-year campaign. A player who's seen it all in her pivotal tenure, Martin has redefined the leadership standard at Iowa as a program pillar.

She'll head into coaching whenever her playing days are done, which might not be anytime soon after this strong season as Iowa's second-most consistent scoring weapon. Martin ending up back on the Hawkeyes bench at some point feels very possible.

"I don't even know how I feel really yet," Martin said. "I just have a lot of emotions overwhelming me right now. It's very bittersweet going into this weekend. I'm sad my time is dwindling down, but I'm excited for the next chapter."

Gabbie Marshall, 2019 recruiting class

Ohio isn't always a recruiting hotbed for Iowa, but the Hawkeyes plucked a productive player from Cincinnati who's become a trusted weapon in five years on the floor.

After cracking the rotation as a true freshman, Marshall has started more than 125 games over the past four years. She's a 1,000-point scorer and the first player in program history with 200 career 3-pointers and 200 career steals.

Yes, Marshall's offensive game has been hit and miss the last two seasons, but don't be surprised if another late-season surge is on the horizon. These are the final games of Marshall's basketball career — she's off to get her master’s in occupational therapy at North Carolina — and there's no motivation like avoiding the end.

"Thinking about all the success I've gotten to be a part of throughout my five years here, just the different girls I've come in contact with and thinking about all the memories we've made with each other — but also knowing it had to come to an end at some point — I'm just going to soak it all in," Marshall said.

Sharon Goodman, 2020 recruiting class

Although Goodman's stats haven't piled up quite like the other four Hawkeyes she'll share senior day with, there isn't a better example of how to remain strong through one tough situation after another.

Her mother's death, COVID, a torn ACL — all this adversity took its best shot at Goodman during her Iowa career. All she did was endure it head-on while remaining a model teammate, student and friend.

Goodman still technically has two years of eligibility left via a COVID year plus a medical redshirt. And it wasn't an easy choice to leave those on the table. But the nursing profession — which Goodman is joining via an accelerated program, likely outside of Iowa — is about to gain a huge piece.

"I've been very blessed with the past four years here, just to be here at this time with the people who are in this circle," Goodman said through tears in what was an emotional interview. "And that's been such a big blessing from the Lord. But I'm also very excited for what's coming next."

Caitlin Clark, 2020 recruiting class

For all the things that have motivated this transcendent superstar during her four years at Iowa, playing to extend her collegiate career even one more day might be the most effective of all.

With her WNBA Draft decision and all scoring records out of the way before the postseason commences, it feels inevitable that more Clark greatness is still in store over this next month.

Other than winning a national title — which Clark hammered home Friday as the ultimate goal — this homegrown baller has accomplished just about everything possible in college basketball. Her career has reached full fairytale status with another chapter to come.

"That’s my biggest focus going into the rest of the year, just smile and have fun and play free," Clark said. "After this game this weekend, we’re really only guaranteed two (more) games. So I think just enjoying every single second and playing and having fun. There’s no reason to be tense because these moments go so fast. That’s really when I play my best basketball."

How the Hawkeyes' five senior-day participants left their mark on Iowa women's basketball (1)

Molly Davis, 2022 transfer class

Bluder will always choose her portal picks carefully. Picking up Davis after three strong seasons at Central Michigan more than qualifies as a successful add.

Davis certainly could've gone somewhere with more playing time guaranteed. But the way she's adapted in Iowa City, especially this second season while becoming more comfortable in the Hawkeyes offense, is exactly how you want an outside add to go.

"For Molly Davis to come here from Central Michigan — not be guaranteed anything, no starting position, no amount of playing time — came here to accept her role and do whatever it takes for us to better, that took a lot of courage," Bluder said.

Dargan Southard is a sports trending reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register Email him atmsouthard@gannett.comor follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.

How the Hawkeyes' five senior-day participants left their mark on Iowa women's basketball (2024)
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