Caitlin Clark racks up awards ahead of Penn State matchup

The guard has attained 10 Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, which is tied for a Big Ten record.


Casey Stone

Caitlin Clark runs the ball down the court during the Iowa Hawkeyes Women’s Basketball season opener again Northern Iowa on Nov. 25, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated Northern Iowa 96-81.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Going into the final stretch of the season, Iowa women’s basketball freshman point guard Caitlin Clark is racking up recognitions.

The West Des Moines native was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday, her 10th of the season — which ties the Big Ten record. Clark is also the reigning co-Player of the Week in the Big Ten, her fourth Player of the Week nod this season, which also ties a record for a freshman.

“There are really a lot of great things coming her way,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “And very deserved. I’m happy for her.”

After three consecutive 30-point games, Clark earned her second U.S. Basketball Writers Association Freshman of the Week honor. Her 39 points inside of Nebraska’s Pinnacle Bank Arena breaks the record for most points scored – man or woman.

“I don’t try to look at [the recognitions] too much,” Clark said. “It’s one or two people’s opinions, somebody else could think something else of you, so you can’t really get wrapped up in it. But it’s been a great honor… It showcases our program on a national level, and that’s bigger than anything for us.”

Clark will be put to the test on Thursday against Penn State’s veteran point guard, Niya Beverley, who leads the Big Ten in assist-turnover ratio at a mark of 3.73.

“[Penn State is] veteran in two positions – the point guard and the center.” Bluder said. “Which to me are key positions to have veteran leadership at.”

RELATED: Third quarter burst helps Iowa women’s basketball defeat Nebraska

Beverley and the Lady Lions (8-9, 5-8 Big Ten) are coming into Carver-Hawkeye Arena after an up-and-down couple weeks. After winning four games in a row, Penn State is on a two-game losing skid, dropping its past two games to No. 15 Indiana and Michigan State.

The Hawkeyes sit at 11-6 on the season and 7-6 in Big Ten play, coming off an 88-81 win against Nebraska a week ago.

Through the season, Clark has posted a 1.26 assist-to-turnover rate. Her biggest struggle has been turnovers, averaging over five per game.

“A lot of them are unforced errors that don’t need to happen,” Clark said. “I don’t think I’m directly passing the other team the ball, sometimes it’s a travel or offensive fouls, just things like that. So, I think my decision-making could be better at times.”

But Clark’s teammates have already seen immense growth from the young play-caller since the beginning of the season.

“Freshman growth obviously happens with everybody” junior center Monika Czinano said. “But hers is just on a much bigger scale. Everyone can see it, it’s more open to public eyes, but I’m really proud of her and her growth so far, and I know there’s more to come, which is really exciting.”

Thursday’s matchup against the Lady Lions marks seven days since the Hawkeyes last stepped on the hardwood, and the team is itching to get back on the court.

“It’s been a week since we played,” Bluder said. “I think our team is more than ready to play this time of year.”

Tipoff is set for 3 p.m., and the game will be aired on BTN.