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RR Ralphie Report: Maddie Nolan is Colorado’s secret weapon against Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes


News Junkie
NCAA Womens Basketball: Oregon at Colorado

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nolan’s previous experience is providing to be invaluable for the Buffs

Not very many people can claim that they’ve beaten Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Colorado Buffaloes certainly can’t, as they fell to them in the Sweet Sixteen of last year’s NCAA Tournament. But now, the Buffs have an ace up their sleeve to help them prepare against the Hawkeyes: transfer guard Maddie Nolan.

When Nolan transferred to CU from Michigan during the off-season, we know that she was going to bring her elite three-point shooting and electric attitude to Boulder. Paired with Frida Formann, the two players have been a lethal combination from deep.

Less obvious is that Nolan also brought an immense amount of experience and expertise from her days in the Big Ten. Playing for four years in the Big Ten with the Wolverines, nobody on Colorado’s roster knows Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes quite like Nolan.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve played [Iowa], probably six or seven,” said Nolan.

Not only has Nolan played Iowa many times, but she’s the only player on the roster to have beaten the Hawkeyes. Head coach JR Payne said that they’ll be leaning on Nolan a little bit extra this week, getting all the info she can give on Iowa.

“[Nolan] will definitely have an opinion and some insight and some little nuggets that she can share [about Iowa] to the coaches as well as her teammates,” said Payne. “We’ll take any little bit of advice that we can get.”

Some of that advice has come from an unlikely source. Nolan has enlisted her old teammates at Michigan for some trips and tricks for beating the Hawkeyes.

“My old teammates played [Iowa] this year, so I’ve been talking to them a little bit just to try to get some insight from when they played them,” said Nolan. “Just what they saw and stuff like that. I’m still really close with those girls.”

Even since before this week’s matchup with Iowa, Nolan’s veteran leadership has been a huge asset for the Buffs. As well as being the only player on CU’s roster to have beaten Caitlin Clark, Nolan is also the only player to have made the Elite Eight, being a key part of the 2022 Wolverines. Nolan’s used that prior experience to help guide the Buffaloes to somewhere they haven’t been since 2002.

“I heard that as soon as the selection show was over, Maddie gathered everyone and said ‘everybody sit down, we’re gonna watch the straight film,” said Payne. “I think that experience that [Nolan] has going to the Elite Eight is something that we can all lean on, and she’ll continue to give that to everybody.”

However you slice it, the graduate transfer from Michigan has left her impact on JR Payne’s Colorado hoops program. As the Buffaloes get ready for a do-or-die game with Iowa, Nolan’s insight might be what pushes the Buffs over the hump into greatness. In what may be the single biggest in Colorado basketball history, Nolan is ready to shine on the biggest stage possible.

“I think it’s gonna be a really fun matchup for us,” told Nolan.

by RylandScholes
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