No. 10 Iowa women’s basketball wins sixth straight against Nebraska

Caitlin Clark’s 33-point performance lifted the Hawkeyes over a persistent Cornhusker team on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.


Darren Chen

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark drives to the rim on the court during a women’s basketball game between Iowa and Northwestern at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats, 93-64.

Colin Votzmeyer, Sports Reporter

The Iowa women’s basketball team won its sixth straight game against Nebraska on Saturday.

Coming off an 83-72 win Monday against No. 2 Ohio State, the Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers, 80-76, at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Junior guard Caitlin Clark netted her fourth 30-point game of the season with 33 points, lifting the Hawkeyes over a persistent Nebraska squad.

Senior Molly Davis started her second consecutive game for the Hawkeyes in replacement of senior forward McKenna Warnock, who was out again with a rib injury she sustained against Michigan State on Jan. 18. While Warnock is day-to-day, Bluder said there’s no timetable for her return.

“​​I think Molly continues to work hard on defense,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I’m very thankful that we have Molly because she was backing up the one and two, and now she’s playing the three for us.”

RELATED: No. 10 Iowa women’s basketball hands No. 2 Ohio State first loss of the season

The Cornhuskers took a 21-15 lead after the first quarter. Junior guard Caitlin Clark opened up scoring for the Hawkeyes with a 3-pointer, but the Hawkeyes struggled early, shooting 6-of-20 from the field with four turnovers.

“Nobody ever thought at the beginning of the game, when we’re down 10 points, that we weren’t going to come back because we know we have the offensive firepower to do that,” Clark said, “That’s not the situation we want to be in. We know [that against] really good teams we can’t withstand that.”

Iowa quickly turned its shooting performance around, making 10-of-16 field goals and 3-of-4 3-pointers in the second quarter.

Clark added two more 3-pointers in the second quarter to finish the first half with 16 points, and freshman forward Hannah Stuelke aided with seven of her nine first-half points. Iowa went into halftime with a 41-30 lead, outscoring the Huskers, 26-9, in the second quarter.

“That second quarter was really good,” Bluder said. “When you’re down six to begin the second quarter and go up by quite a bit is nice.”

Fifth-year senior forward Monika Czinano poured in nine points in the third quarter, while Clark added seven of her own alongside five rebounds and four assists. The Hawkeyes finished the third quarter with a 67-50 lead.

Nebraska did not back down and began the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run. Clark responded with a 3-pointer at the top of the key, but the Huskers kept it within single digits going into the final minutes of the game.

But the Huskers failed to convert on Iowa’s five turnovers and 12 missed shots in the fourth quarter, and the Hawkeyes maintained the lead to win.

“It’s not like we played poorly, but we didn’t play to our capabilities today,” Bluder said. “I think we got a little out of what we do really well.”

Today’s win marks six straight for the Hawkeyes, tying their season-best. Iowa is tied with Indiana for the Big Ten lead with a 9-1 conference record. 

Clark and Czinano lead again

Clark finished with 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists, including 10-for-12 from the free throw line.

“I think free throws are super important,” Clark said. “That’s something our team prides itself in is we want to be a really good free-throw shooting team … Those matter at the end of the game when you only win by four points.”

Czinano added 17 points and seven rebounds of her own, with nine of those points coming in the third quarter.

“In the third quarter, I thought we came out and did a really good job of getting Monika more involved in the game,” Bluder said. “Monika shot 70 percent, so that’s tremendous.”

Stuelke shines off bench

Stuelke was third in scoring for the Hawkeyes with 12 points in 21 minutes off the bench. The performance marks the freshman’s seventh game scoring in double-digits this season. 

“I think I’ve made a lot of progress,” Stuelke said. “I used to get a little antsy and turn the ball over, and I’m trying to calm down more and just focus on the game.” 

The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native dominated in the paint against a tall Nebraska frontcourt as she drew three fouls and shot 4-for-5 from the free throw line.

“Them being taller does make it harder,” Stuelke said. “We talked about going off the dribble more because I’m fast for my size, and it worked a lot better than posting them up.”

Up next

The Hawkeyes will welcome 10th-ranked Maryland to Carver Hawkeye Arena Thursday. 

The Terrapins are 17-4 on the season and 8-2 in Big Ten play.

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