Clark's double-double leads No. 10 Iowa past Nebraska 80-76
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Caitlin Clark had 33 points and 12 rebounds, and No. 10 Iowa held off Nebraska for an 80-76 win on Saturday.
It was the 10th double-double of the season for Clark, who came into the game second in the nation in scoring at 26.8 points per game. She just missed a triple-double, finishing with nine assists.
Clark recorded her fifth 30-point game of the season and 27th of her career. She was 9 of 26 from the field, including a 5-for-12 performance from 3-point range.
Monika Czinano had 17 points for Iowa, and reserve Hannah Stuelke added 12 points.
The Hawkeyes (17-4, 9-1 Big Ten), coming off an 83-72 win over No. 2 Ohio State on Monday, extended their win streak to six games. But they had to hold off the Huskers in the final minutes after making 2 of 14 shots in the fourth quarter.
“It was a win, but not a pretty win,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “It's not like we played poorly. We just didn't play to our capabilities.”
The Hawkeyes also moved into a first-place tie in the Big Ten with No. 6 Indiana. The Hoosiers host Rutgers on Sunday.
Iowa led by as much as 18 points in the second half, but Nebraska (12-9, 4-6) closed to 77-73 with 18.6 seconds left after a 3-pointer by Sam Haiby. But Clark made three free throws in the final seconds to complete the win.
“I thought there was a point when we were down 17 or 18 where it could have gone one way, but our kids dug deep and got some defensive stops,” Nebraska coach Amy Williams said.
The Hawkeyes had a slow start to go with the sluggish finish. Iowa opened the game by missing its first seven shots and committing four turnovers in the first five minutes.
“We did a good job of staying calm,” Clark said. “Nobody ever thought we were going to lose the lead by any means. And nobody ever panicked in the first half, when we were down 10 points, that we weren't going to come back, because we know we have the offensive firepower to do it. But these aren't the situations we want to be in."
The Hawkeyes trailed 21-11 with 1:28 left in the first quarter, then closed the half with a 30-9 run, with 10 points coming from Clark.
A switch to a zone defense bothered the Huskers, who made just 3 of 13 shots in the second quarter. Iowa was 10 of 16 from the field in the quarter.
“The second quarter was great, offensively and defensively," Bluder said. “We went to a zone defense, and I thought it was really effective.”
“We knew they were going to play zone,” Williams said. “But when they did, I thought we settled a little too much. We forgot to get those paint touches, and that was a huge emphasis for us at the start of the game.”
Haiby led Nebraska with 16 points. Isabelle Bourne had 14 points, and Maddie Krull finished with 13. Alexis Markowski had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Jaz Shelley added 10 points and 11 assists.
Clark recorded her 73rd consecutive double-digit scoring game, the longest active streak in NCAA Division I play. She also has hit at least one 3-pointer in 40 consecutive games.
Nebraska: The Huskers got some inside shots early in transition, but once Iowa started making shots, had no answers offensively until their late rally. They finished a four-game stretch that included three against nationally ranked teams, losing to Ohio State, Maryland and the Hawkeyes.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes got off to a slow start coming off the win over Ohio State on Monday, but took control of the game and kept their momentum heading into Thursday’s home game with Maryland. “We keep getting better through difficult situations, and that's going to help us at the end of the year,” Bluder said.
Nebraska: Hosts Michigan State on Thursday.
Iowa: Hosts No. 10 Maryland on Thursday.
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