No. 9 Iowa women’s basketball upset by Duke in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

The Hawkeyes struggled offensively, falling to the Blue Devils, 79-64.


Grace Smith

Iowa Caitlin Clark attempts to find an open center during a women’s basketball game between No. 8 Iowa and Southern University at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Clark played a total of 29 minutes and 30 seconds. The Hawkeyes defeated the Jaguars, 87-67.

Dawson Moore, Sports Reporter

After a two-week hiatus because of positive COVID-19 cases within the program, No. 9 Iowa women’s basketball struggled in its first game back on the court, falling to Duke, 79-64. 

The Hawkeyes now move to 4-1 on the season, suffering a loss in their first road test of 2021-22. 

“For us to have zero threes at half and shoot 16 percent is incredibly, incredibly low,” head coach Lisa Bluder said postgame. “For us to have 15 assists is incredibly low. How much is this due to our COVID break? I don’t know. We haven’t played in two weeks and a day. We missed three games that were supposed to be preparing us for this game. Certainly, not an Iowa performance that we’re proud of and we need to regroup.” 

Sophomore point guard Caitlin Clark struggled from the 3-point line, shooting 1-of-13 from beyond the arc. Clark also shot 33 percent from the field and finished the game with 22 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists — including 13 points in the fourth quarter.

But it was too little too late, as the Blue Devils still outscored the Hawkeyes, 22-20, in the fourth quarter.

“This won’t carry over for Caitlin, it just won’t. I mean, she’s better than that,” Bluder said. “We just need to get her rhythm back and she’ll be there. She did get downhill, and she needs to remember that it is a great way to open yourself up for three point shots.”

Big Picture

The Big Ten is now down, 6-1, in the women’s basketball Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The Hawkeyes’ defensive struggles did not spoil their evening, however. The Hawkeyes forced the Blue Devils to shoot 44 percent from the field, 29 percent from 3-point range, and 68 percent from the free throw line.

Iowa had 18 turnovers in the game.

Silent Bench

The Hawkeyes saw minimal production from their bench on Thursday night, scoring only two points in 31 combined minutes with an average +/- of negative seven.

Iowa is averaging 16.6 points per game from its bench so far on the season.

“I mean, it was a strange game for us,” Bluder said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Duke’s defense, because I think they did a really great job, but certainly you can tell that our timing was off, that this was the first time we’d really seen pressure defense all season. So, certainly those games that we missed would have helped prepare us for this situation. But in the end, we just have to move on, and we have two days to get ready for Michigan State.”

Up Next

Iowa will return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday to take on Michigan State in the Hawkeyes’ first Big Ten game of the season.

The Spartans are 6-2 on the 2021-22 campaign after falling to No. 23 Notre Dame in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Bluder will be going for her 800th career win as a head coach on Sunday as the game tips off at 3 p.m. It will be aired on the Big Ten Network.