Clark's 35 points, key assists help No. 4 Iowa escape Iowa State
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Caitlin Clark scored 35 points but it was her passing that helped fourth-ranked Iowa pull away from rival Iowa State and secure a 67-58 victory Wednesday night.
Clark's performance pushed her career point total to 3,013, making her the 15th NCAA Division I women's player to surpass the 3,000 plateau.
“I knew I had the opportunity to do that coming into tonight,” Clark said. “It's cool, especially to do it here. I have a lot of family in attendance. As long as we win. I probably wouldn't be happy with scoring 3,000 points in a loss.”
The Hawkeyes (9-1) were trailing 55-54 midway through the fourth quarter, before Clark made a pair of nifty assists to Kate Martin, who converted them into layups that gave Iowa a 60-56 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining.
“Caitlin just draws so much attention,” said Martin, who finished with 16 points. “All eyes are on her.”
Clark added a layup of her own to extend the margin to 62-56 with about 2 minutes to play.
“Happy to come out of here with a victory,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “They slowed the ball down and did a good job with that, but I thought our defense in the second half was really good.”
Iowa State (4-4) forced a dozen lead changes and eight ties before succumbing to the Hawkeyes.
Audi Crooks led the Cyclones with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“I think coming into this, there were not a whole lot of people who thought we could genuinely win this game,” Crooks said. “I think a lot of people thought we were going to roll over and die and let them do what they wanted to do.”
The Cyclones held Iowa to 34.9% shooting. Clark was 12 of 31 from the floor (38.7%). Iowa State hit just 34.4% of its shots.
It was the fourth time this season Clark has scored 30 or more points. She also contributed nine rebounds and finished with five assists.
“We know Caitlin gets all the attention, as far as defensive attention,” Bluder said. “People don't understand how good (Martin) is and how hard she is to guard.”
Clark scored 12 points in the first quarter, but the Cyclones never faded and continued to show improvement with their young lineup.
“The crowd is packed so it's easy to get overwhelmed,” Crooks said. “But we just have to stay in the moment and do what we need to do.”
Iowa: Caitlin Clark has scored at least 20 points in all ten games this season, but the rest of the Hawkeyes struggled. Iowa came into Wednesday's game shooting 52.7% on the season but made just 32.4% in the first half against the Cyclones. Iowa has now won six in a row.
Iowa State: Crooks, Iowa State's top recruit, is emerging as a freshman force. The 6-foot-3 center nearly recorded a double-double in the first half, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
Iowa opens Big Ten play Sunday at Wisconsin.
Iowa State hosts North Dakota State on Sunday.
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