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. 5 Iowa women’s basketball leads entire way to 98-59 win over Purdue-Fort Wayne in first round of Gulf Coast Showcase

Caitlin Clark scored 29 points in a red-hot shooting night despite a season-low 23 minutes on the floor.
Grace Smith
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark listens during a timeout at a basketball game between No. 2 Iowa and Drake at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs in the sold-out arena, 113-90.

The No. 5 Iowa women’s basketball team led the Purdue Fort-Wayne Mastodons the whole game at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida, on Friday night, closing out with a 98-59 win in the first round of the Gulf Coast Showcase.

The event features eight Division I women’s basketball teams — with the likes of the nationally ranked Kansas State Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels in addition to the Hawkeyes — competing in a mini-tournament located in the much-warmer southwest side of the Sunshine State.

But this one was a three-point battle early on, the Hawkeyes and Mastodons going back-and-forth from beyond the arc.

Of course, Caitlin Clark got involved early with a shifty behind-the-back pull-up three on the left side of the court, but fifth-year Iowa guard Gabbie Marshall commanded increasing attention from the loose Purdue-Fort Wayne defense, drilling two catch-and-shoot threes from the left side — and it was obvious she was feeling her shot early.

That’s not to ignore Clark’s scoring effort in the first quarter, scoring eight points on 2-of-3 from the field and three free throws.

While the Mastodons had an answer in the first five minutes of the game, keeping the contest tied or within three, a missed three from the top of the key marked the first of a handful of Purdue-Fort Wayne misses that ended the hot start and helped the Hawkeyes capitalize, push the pace, and extend their lead.

So Iowa took a 30-20 lead moving into the second quarter, fouling just once on defense in the first but scoring 7-of-10 from the charity stripe as Purdue-Fort Wayne put the Hawkeyes in the bonus early.

The Hawkeye bigs played a key role in spreading the offense in the first half, second-year forward Hannah Stuelke clearly molding into a useful four position as she runs the court for layups in transition. Meanwhile, Iowa center Sharon Goodman remained solid and strong in the post as she cleaned up down low. The two scored nine and seven, respectively, in the first half.

And the Mastodons gave Clark too much space, especially in the second as she moved at her own speed and hit a trio of threes before the halfway point in the quarter. She finished with 19 points in the half, sitting the last few minutes of the quarter after receiving a flagrant foul for shoving Mastodon defender Erin Woodson, who was guarding her very closely off-ball, to the ground.

As the Iowa defense moved between matching up and a two-three zone, Purdue-Fort Wayne’s offense slowed as it became rather sloppy, paving the way for Hawkeye deflections, steals, and blocks — and a 52-36 lead when the second half began.

Reserves pulling away

Ten seconds into the second half, Clark nailed her fifth three of the game on her signature step-back jumper to the left — and a catch-and-shoot three on the opposite side from the Des Moines local brought her 25th point in the game and a Purdue-Fort Wayne timeout before even one minute expired in the quarter.

The Mastodons continued to struggle in scoring over the Hawkeye defense throughout the third, Iowa possessing the ball for much of the period and holding Purdue-Fort Wayne to just 11 percent from the field and six points going into the final quarter with a 74-42 lead.

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder gave her bench more minutes in the fourth after her starters doubled the Mastodons’ 42 points thus far, especially as Stuelke went down briefly with a right leg tweak before safely walking off of the court to the bench without any assistance. So the Hawkeyes cruised to the 98-59 win.

Clark finished the night with an easy 29 points on 8-of-13 from the field, 6-of-9 from deep, and 7-of-9 from the free throw line in a season-low 23 minutes that included eight assists despite five turnovers.

Behind her in the scoring effort came her two posts: While Stuelke scored 13 on 6-of-10 from the field with eight rebounds, Goodman finished with a near-perfect performance in the paint as she put up 16 on 6-of-7 from the field with four free throws.

Up next

The Hawkeyes will take on the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles in the second round of the Gulf Coast Showcase tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. CT, the Eagles having beat Delaware, 83-68, in their own first-round matchup earlier today.

The winner of tomorrow night’s game will play the winner of the contest between No. 16 Kansas State and No. 18 North Carolina in the championship at 6:30 p.m. CT on Sunday.

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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.
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.