Clark, Hawkeyes look to bounce back against No. 15 Ohio State

After a loss to No. 22 Northwestern last Saturday, Iowa will host No. 15 Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark attempts a free throw at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on December 31 2020.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

The last time Iowa women’s basketball hit the hardwood, it was outmatched and overpowered by No. 22 Northwestern, 67-77.

The Jan. 9 matchup saw the Wildcats hold Hawkeye sensation Caitlin Clark to a career-low eight points – a remarkable feat considering the freshman point guard is averaging 25.6 points per game this season. Northwestern also forced Clark into foul trouble for the first time in her young career, as she fouled out of the game late in the fourth quarter.

“Sometimes, you just have those nights,” Clark said. “You can’t get super down after one loss, you just got to bounce back, flush it, learn from it. I think there were a lot of things that we saw that [Northwestern] exposed us in that we can learn from.”

Beyond Clark’s individual struggles, head coach Lisa Bluder hopes all her Hawkeyes learned something in Evanston last Saturday.

“We learned that we can’t just rely on our offense, and we have to play both sides of the court,” Bluder said. “So, I hope that’s a lesson that came through loud and clear for them.”

Fortunately for Bluder’s bunch, a chance at redemption is on the horizon, as the Hawkeyes will welcome No. 15 Ohio State to Carver-Hawkeye Arena Wednesday.

The first showdown between the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes was actually scheduled for Dec. 19. That game was postponed as Ohio State women’s basketball worked to resolve COVID-19 issues within its program.

After Dec. 19, Ohio State’s battle with COVID-19 wasn’t over. The Buckeyes were forced to postpone four games, missing nearly a month of action.

Once Ohio State finally had the opportunity to return to the floor in January, its Jan. 10 matchup with Rutgers was postponed as the Scarlet Knights tried to control the spread of COVID-19 within their women’s basketball program.

Despite the stop-and-go nature of Ohio State’s 2020-21 campaign, the Hawkeyes aren’t counting the Buckeyes out. On the season, Ohio State is 6-0.

“I think this is the best team we’ll face thus far,” Bluder said. “The thing about Ohio State is that they’re very balanced, and you can’t help off of too many people. They’ll make you pay if you do.”

To compete with Ohio State, the Hawkeyes will need improve on both ends of the floor. Iowa committed 18 turnovers against Northwestern last Saturday. In total, the Wildcats produced 28 points off of Iowa’s 18 miscues.

This week, Bluder’s squad has focused on improving its defense, and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“We really just worked on defense, that was our main goal,” sophomore forward McKenna Warnock said. “Communication was a huge thing, especially with a young team, you’re not as vocal, so I think we just had to get out of our comfort zone.”

Of late, Carver-Hawkeye Arena has been Iowa’s comfort zone, as the Hawkeyes are currently riding a 42-game home win streak.

“I think it’s all going to come down to defense for us,” Clark said. “That’s usually what it is, every single game. We’ll be able to shoot the ball well, we’ll be back at Carver, so it’s what we’re used to.”

Tipoff between the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the game will air on the Big Ten Network.

Facebook Comments