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 exacts revenge upon No. 16 Kansas State, wins championship game at Gulf Coast Showcase

Caitlin Clark earned tournament MVP honors after her 32-point performance.
Emily Nyberg
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark shoots a three-pointer during a basketball game between No. 2 Iowa and Kansas State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. Clark scored just 24 points for Iowa, tying her lowest-scoring game of the season against UNI on Nov. 12. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes, 65-58.

The No. 5 Iowa women’s basketball team exacted revenge upon the No. 16 Kansas State Wildcats with a 77-70 win in the championship game of the Gulf Coast Showcase at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida, on Sunday night.

The Wildcats, who came into the contest at 6-0, and Hawkeyes last squared off just under two weeks ago in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Nov. 16 — Kansas State handing then-No. 2 Iowa its first loss of the season, 65-58, behind a rough shooting performance from the Black and Gold that saw only Caitlin Clark and guard Molly Davis score in double digits as the former shot 2-of-16 beyond the arc.

But the Hawkeyes have been back on track from the field and beyond the three-point arc since that loss, even drilling a program-record 20 threes in Saturday’s semifinal win over Florida Gulf Coast to solidify the chance for revenge the next night.

Clark again paved the way to the win for the Hawkeyes in the final, albeit this time with a much more efficient performance from the field: She scored 32 points on 10-of-25 from the field and 7-of-16 from deep despite missing three of four clutch free throws down the stretch.

And Davis too again supported nicely, scoring a season-high 13 of her own as she drove hard to the rim and did not shy away from the 6-foot-6 stature of Kansas State center Ayoka Lee. Guard Kate Martin chipped 11 points in on the effort, providing a massive spark in the second half.

Iowa second-year forward Hannah Stuelke missed her second-straight contest with a right ankle injury, that ankle now wrapped up, sustained against Purdue-Fort Wayne on Friday, so center Sharon Goodman again started in her place.

The Wildcats, who beat No. 18 North Carolina in their respective semifinal matchup, struggled to score at a faster pace early on, having been slowed down and constrained by a scrappy and active Hawkeye defense.

Clark did not serve as Iowa’s primary ball-handler early on in the night, instead starting off of the ball in the Hawkeyes’ half court offense. Still, she was slower to get going as she was in the two’s last contest, this time missing three outside looks before the media timeout despite how open the Wildcats often left her.

But there was no dire need for her to get going. Great Iowa ball movement gave Marshall a connection on her first three as Davis drove for two floaters around Lee.

Still, the Des Moines local found the bottom of the bucket from way beyond the three-point line on the left side, and that provided a spark for the Hawkeyes as Clark nailed another deep three from the left and they took a 27-15 lead moving into the second quarter.

Hawkeye third-year forward AJ Ediger found some minutes guarding Lee in the paint as the Wildcats drew fouls and valued their possessions, cutting the Iowa lead to six and then just three with a deep ball from K-State guard Gabby Gregory that led to a timeout from Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder.

That momentum continued even after the timeout as Lee dominated the paint on both ends of the floor — especially when the Hawkeyes were forced to run a smaller lineup with bigs in foul trouble that saw second-year guard Sydney Affolter tasked with guarding the 6-foot-6 center.

So the Hawkeye offense slowed, holding a narrow 39-38 lead into the half with a boost from a three by Davis, who finished the half with 11.

Nail-biter until the buzzer

The second half started in a back-and-forth scoring battle, Davis continuing to attack the rim and Goodman cleaning up when the Central Michigan transfer drew Lee toward her and could not finish.

Clark took the Iowa momentum with her when she confidently drilled yet another deep three from the left side, forcing Kansas State head coach Jeff Mittie to call a timeout and slow the Hawkeye pace down.

But that was to no avail, Hawkeye backup center Addison O’Grady catching two and-one layups that extended the lead to six as Lee subbed back in for K-State to protect the paint.

A three from Martin propelled the Hawkeyes even further ahead, extending the lead to 10 and then 11 with another catch-and-shoot three from the corner. Hertz Arena, which Bluder dubbed “Carver South,” exploded into “Let’s Go Hawks” chants, all momentum in Iowa’s hands with a 63-54 lead even as the Wildcats started to find an answer.

The Goodman-to-Davis connection continued to start the fourth on a beautiful bounce pass for a layup from the center, but the Wildcats would not quite go away as they were unable to cut the lead below five but prevented it from growing beyond 10.

But the Hawkeyes fell under a scoring drought over the course of over three minutes, their lead shrinking to 67-62 moving into the final media timeout of the game before the Wildcats tied it at 67 — making for a tensely entertaining final three minutes of the game.

Clark came up big for the Black and Gold with a massive three to put Iowa back up four with under two minutes left in the game, but K-State guard Serena Sundell cut the lead again to two before Bluder called a timeout to think things over.

Out of the timeout, Clark took the ball herself and came off of a high ball screen for a side step into a three with 40 seconds left in the game, putting Iowa up five, forcing K-State to foul, and ultimately securing revenge with a win, 77-70.

Up next

The Hawkeyes have just under a week off from competitive action before returning to Iowa City and playing host to Bowling Green at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Dec. 2.

The Falcons are 4-1 overall, winning their last three games after falling to Texas State, 74-48, on Nov. 11. They are averaging 70.8 points per game this season — with five players averaging double figures — while allowing an average of 67.

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About the Contributors
Colin Votzmeyer
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.
Emily Nyberg
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.