Caitlin Clark overcomes ankle injury, leads Iowa women’s basketball to victory over Belmont

The junior All-American scored 33 points for Iowa on Sunday — the only player to score in double-digits.


Grace Smith

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark dribbles the ball during a basketball game between Iowa and Drake at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. Clark played for 42 minutes and 58 seconds. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs in overtime, 92-86.

Sam Knupp, Sports Reporter

A nagging ankle injury didn’t keep reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Caitlin Clark out of the game on Sunday as Iowa took down Belmont at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 73-62. 

Clark was injured in the final seconds of Iowa’s game against Kansas State on Thursday, twisting her ankle. She was helped off the floor by athletic trainers but walked to the bus unaided on Thursday night.

The junior was listed as day-to-day coming into Sunday’s game. Although she experienced swelling and bruising in her ankle, she knew she was going to play.

“I definitely did not want to sit out, but I feel really good right now,” Clark said.

Clark also took an elbow to the nose from Belmont’s Tessa Miller four minutes into the Hawkeyes’ game against the Bruins. She had to briefly come out of the came and held a towel to her nose when on the bench.

“It’s kind of just the stuff that happens in basketball,” Clark said.

Despite her lingering injuries, Clark was the only player to get into double digits. The All-American shot 10-for-18 from the floor and 10-of-11 at the line for 33 points.

Big Picture

After Thursday’s loss at Kansas State, associate head coach Jan Jensen called the Hawkeyes a two-headed monster, referring to how Clark and senior center Monika Czinano have a higher scoring output than the rest of the Hawkeyes.  

Czinano only scored nine points on Sunday afternoon as the second-leading scorer behind Clark.  Head coach Lisa Bluder attributed the low point totals to the way Belmont slowed the game down.

“We didn’t have as many possessions this game as we usually have,” Bluder said. “They were really walking the ball down the court and that’s a good way to defend us, right? We can’t score if we don’t have the ball in our hands.”

Although Belmont dropped to 1-3 following its loss to Iowa, the Hawkeyes saw the Bruins as a formidable opponent. One of Belmont’s losses came to No. 6 Louisville.

“We knew this is the type of team you see in the NCAA Tournament, so we wanted to treat it just like that, and I thought we did just that,” Clark said.

Bruins take away inside attack

Czinano took just seven shots on Sunday afternoon, making four of them.

Czinano hasn’t been getting the looks the coaching staff wants through the beginning of the season, and Bluder said Iowa has been emphasizing getting the ball to the senior center.

“We’re just hard to guard that way, the inside-outside attack,” Bluder said. “And they took away the inside a little bit.”

The Hawkeyes had a strong rebounding effort, however, as Czinano grabbed 11 rebounds. The Hawkeyes outrebounded the Bruins, 42-34.

“That’s been a big focal point for us,” Czinano said. “And I think it just shows that we’re so capable of it, we just have to keep doing it every single night.”

Up next

Iowa will travel to Portland, Oregon, for the Phil Knight Legacy College Basketball Tournament from Friday-Sunday. The Hawkeyes will take on Oregon State in the first round on Friday and Duke or UConn on Sunday.