The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

No. 3 Iowa women’s basketball pounds Northern Iowa behind second-half shooting adjustments

Caitlin Clark and Iowa guard Gabbie Marshall scored 24 and 17, respectively.
Ayrton Breckenridge
The Iowa bench cheers during a women’s basketball game between No. 7 Iowa and Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Badgers, 91-61.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — The No. 3 Iowa women’s basketball team pounded the Northern Iowa Panthers, 94-53, in front of the first-ever sold-out crowd at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The Panthers boasted a noisy atmosphere at home that felt a lot more competitive than it was with the comfortable Hawkeye win. But plenty of Iowa fans filled the 7,000-person capacity of the arena too.

Caitlin Clark became the program’s all-time leading scorer halfway through the third quarter on an and-one layup through contact, surpassing Megan Gustafson after entering the game 16 points shy of her record.

Like most of the Hawkeyes’ opponents, the Panthers opted to faceguard Clark as a means of denying her three, which they did successfully early on. But as she does, the Des Moines native found other avenues, especially around the rim, to put the ball in the bucket.

“It’s so gratifying because Caitlin chose to come to the University of Iowa when she could’ve [gone] anywhere in the country, and I’m so proud that she took a chance with us,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “It’s pretty gratifying to coach these kids. They’re unbelievable.”

Clark finished with a triple-double of 24 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds and enjoyed the drive and kick or dump pass to her open teammates, which was a big piece in the Hawkeyes’ scoring success whenever shots weren’t falling — as they weren’t in the first half.

The Hawkeyes got out to a big lead early, drawing fouls down in Panther territory and finding guard Gabbie Marshall for a handful of kickout three attempts, and she made two in the first half.

And the Panthers could find very little on offense, forward Grace Boffeli scoring seven of their 11 first-quarter points while multiple other shots failed to even hit rim.

Although the Hawkeyes were up nine going into the second quarter, it was by no means a pretty first quarter by their standards. They collectively struggled to connect on the deep ball and shot just 7-of-19 with a handful of turnovers.

But Bluder quickly dug into her bench depth behind her starters, centers Addison O’Grady and Sharon Goodman alternating at the five and second-year Taylor McCabe also seeing tick in the first half.

“I think Hannah Stuelke can beat anybody off the bounce, and you’ve got muscle coming in with Sharon,” Bluder said of the Hawkeyes’ strong post play. “I think we have a nice diversity there in our post position that gives us different looks.”

The scoring effort in the second quarter was well-rounded, though, Marshall ending the half with eight and Clark with 13 as Iowa’s leaders while O’Grady and Goodman dug in for put-backs down low.

But the Panthers finally started to find an answer, capitalizing on Hawkeye fouls to keep the game relatively close — Iowa 40, Northern Iowa 25 — going into the half. 

Adjustments at half

Some halftime adjustments were needed to clean up the fouls and turnovers and improve on a 13-of-32 shooting performance in the first half, and the Hawkeyes did just that — but naturally as Bluder said the team did not outright discuss any needs to change beyond drawing more fouls.

They immediately hit Stuelke down low for a strong finish, and Clark — collapsing the Panthers’ defense into the paint on a drive — assisted Marshall on a wide-open corner three. 

And then again on the opposite side. And then one more on that same side. Guard Kylie Feuerbach joined in on the action for a trey-ball on the right wing, and even Stuelke stretched out to the three-point arc for a connection.

“In shoot-around, my shot was feeling good, [so I told myself], ‘You’re getting hot tonight,'” Marshall said. “You need that. You need that confidence.”

In the middle of it all came Clark’s breaking Gustafson’s record on a short drive from the right  wing, finishing through contact for the and-one.

“It’s cool and obviously special to be able to do it with this group,” Clark said. “I wouldn’t be in this spot if it wasn’t for [my teammates]. They all celebrated too, so I’m just lucky to do it with this group. Hopefully I can score [even] more points for this program this year.”

By the end of the third quarter, the Black and Gold’s hot shooting meant they held a firm 75-41 lead going into the fourth.

“In the second half, we got on a roll,” Bluder said. “We shot the ball much better.”

The Panthers spent much of the final quarter hitting the Hawkeyes hard in the post, trying to remove any option for easy layups. But that opens the outside for shots, and the Iowa offense found McCabe twice for threes on the right side.

By the two-minute mark of the fourth, all Hawkeyes had touched the floor in the afternoon’s contest — including first-year guard Kennise Johnson.

And the Hawkeyes rolled out to the win by a smooth 41-point margin.

Up next

The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday to welcome the Kansas State Wildcats.

The Wildcats are 2-0 thus far this season with comfortable wins of their own over Presbyterian and Little Rock. They will have had almost a week to rest their legs upon venturing to Iowa City for a test against the undefeated Black and Gold.

“Next week is not going to get any easier for us, and that’s what’s exciting about [our schedule],” Clark said. “We get to prepare for really great teams every single week.”

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About the Contributors
Colin Votzmeyer, Assistant Sports Editor
Colin Votzmeyer is a junior at the University of Iowa studying journalism and mass communication with minors in history and criminology, law, and justice. Prior to his role as assistant sports editor, he previously served as digital producer, news reporter covering crime, cops, and courts, and sports reporter covering track and field and women's basketball. He plans on attending law school after his graduation with hopes of pursuing a career as a criminal defense attorney.
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.