Addison O’Grady and Taylor McCabe discuss their roles on the Iowa women’s basketball team, growing women’s sports, life as engineering student-athletes, and handling media fame.
Friday, May 10, 2024

By Payton Spindler

When a record-breaking 18.7 million people tuned in to watch Iowa play South Carolina in the NCAA women’s basketball championship game in Cleveland, Ohio, University of Iowa engineering student-athletes Addison “Addi” O’Grady and Taylor McCabe were in the middle of the action.

O’Grady, a forward/center, and McCabe, a guard, played important minutes for the Iowa Hawkeyes team that captivated the nation and beyond. The squad won a third consecutive Big Ten Championship, capped a March Madness run with a second straight NCAA finals appearance, and put women's sports on the map like never before.

“It was crazy,” O'Grady recalled. “It's just really hard to wrap my head around it.” 

Addison O'Grady


Position: Forward/Center

Points: 149

Rebounds: 71

Hometown: Aurora, Colorado

Major: Chemical Engineering

Year: Junior

McCabe added, “A lot of people wanted to watch Caitlin (Clark), but there were so many more people that fell in love with the idea of our team and all of the joy that we brought to the game. I just hope that it continues to grow, and we keep moving in the right direction.”

O’Grady, a third-year chemical engineering major, and McCabe, a second-year civil engineering major, strived for success on the court, all the while juggling the rigors of being engineering majors. They reflected on their groundbreaking basketball season, tackling homework and tests while traveling from game to game, and managing the spotlight that came with being at the center of the sports landscape. 

“It's definitely changed our day-to-day lives,” McCabe said. "It’s really fun to get that recognition, but you also have to be more aware of everything you’re doing. You always want to be an example on the court, but off the court as well.”

Women's Basketball


Position: Guard

Points: 110 

Rebounds: 23

Hometown: Fremont, Nebraska

Major: Civil Engineering

Year: Sophomore

O'Grady recalled how much the game has changed in her three years at Iowa. "It’s really cool to see how much it’s grown, even since I first started playing college basketball.”

Despite the pressure to succeed on the court and the extra attention off it, O’Grady and McCabe have not forgotten their roles as students. That often meant doing homework “on the bus, on the plane, anytime you can find,” McCabe said. 

Coaches, faculty, staff, and classmates have played important roles in their academic success, accommodating their schedules, granting an extension to finish a project, and encouraging them along the way. 

While the student-athletes are eager to get back on the court, they are also looking forward to their futures as engineers. McCabe plans to pursue architecture and structural engineering, hoping to someday design skyscrapers. O'Grady is still exploring the opportunities chemical engineering will create in her future.

“We both enjoy being engineers,” McCabe said. “We wouldn't rather be doing anything else. It might be challenging to balance some days, but there's still plenty of time to be a regular student and enjoy yourself.”