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. 4 Iowa women’s basketball beats Bowling Green, 99-65, with strength on both ends of floor

The Hawkeyes scored 72 points in the paint and held the Falcons to 65 points in total.
Grace Smith
Iowa guard Kate Martin celebrates after blocking a shot during a basketball game between No. 4 Iowa and Bowling Green at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

The No. 4 Iowa women’s basketball team beat the Bowling Green Falcons, 99-65, in a strong effort on both ends of the floor inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes got nearly a full week of practice and rest after a three-day trip to Estero, Florida, last weekend to participate in the Gulf Coast Showcase. There, Iowa got its revenge on then-No. 16 Kansas State — who handed the Hawkeyes their first loss earlier this season — to win the event’s championship. 

The Hawkeyes were strong on both ends of the floor tonight, especially in the paint as they scored 72 points there and held the Falcons to just 65 points in the game.

Although Caitlin Clark was colder from three today, making 2 of 11 attempts, she scored 24 points in the contest, followed closely behind by guard Kate Martin with 17, guard Sydney Affolter with 14, center Sharon Goodman with 12, and center Addison O’Grady with 10.

The Falcons lack a true big to compete with Goodman and O’Grady, who remained strong defensively down low in preventing layups while the Falcons couldn’t hit from the outside either.

Iowa’s starting second-year forward Hannah Stuelke again did not play in today’s contest due to an undisclosed injury, although Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said there’s a possibility she returns for Wednesday’s game at Iowa State.

“Depth is really shining right now, and we want to keep it shining,” Bluder said. “The first thing for Hannah is to take care of her health and make sure that she is able to come back safely. That is the number one thing over wins or losses.”

WNBA legend Sue Bird and “Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudeikis were in attendance this afternoon, the latter even breaking out into a dance for the arena to booming cheers.

After two turnovers on the first two Iowa possessions, the Hawkeyes got those back by a very energetic start to the game thereafter. Clark, Davis, and Marshall rained in three-balls while Clark added an and-one finish to the 14-5 lead early on.

Clark found Marshall for another three in the opposite corner out of the Bowling Green timeout, but the Hawkeyes continued to work the smaller Falcons lineup into the paint for easier layups.

Iowa second-year guard Taylor McCabe saw some minutes at the end of the first quarter, having seemingly earned them after her 18-point performance against FGCU last weekend, as the Hawkeyes took a 29-16 lead moving into the second quarter.

Davis boasted her ball-handling skills with a smooth move to the rim for an off-hand layup to open the second quarter as the Hawkeyes continued to score a handful of physical points in the paint — 34 in the first half, to be exact.

That effort was aided not only by 14 assists on 21 made field goals but also by Affolter. She scored eight in the first half on 4-of-4 from the field — including six in the second quarter alone as she dominated finishing around the rim, not to mention her active hands on the other side of the floor.

“I think we really emphasize passing up a good shot for a great shot,” Affolter said. “I think we had a lot of ‘one-more’ passes that were really great … I think that’s helped a lot, just really being in control when I’m in the paint and finishing off of two feet.”

And a big block from Martin shot the ball out of bounds before she let out a big yell in celebration and Iowa fans got even louder on their feet.

“I take pride in that, and it feels really good,” Martin said of the block, comparing it to a kill in volleyball. “Man, that feels good … to take some anger out. I let out some emotion there, but I think that’s good. I think the women’s game needs some emotion, and it’s exciting. It brings up the energy. My teammates get excited. The bench gets excited, so I think we need that.”

The Hawkeyes held a comfortable double-digit lead through the second quarter, extending it to nearly 20 with five minutes left in the half and leading, 48-32, moving into halftime.

Both ends of the floor

Iowa’s offensive efficiency gets so much attention behind Clark, and it’s well-deserved, but the defensive effort cannot be ignored today.

Marshall, Affolter, and guard Kylie Feuerbach had been gritty and physical defenders all afternoon, but take Martin for example. She earned her second block of the game, and her excitement after such plays shows how passionate she is on the defensive end of the floor.

“It’s just a mindset,” Martin said of her defensive versatility. “It’s just outworking somebody and working hard, and that’s what I try to do every single game.”

To contain Clark, the Falcons threw double-teams at her in the third, but the Iowa offense is much more well-rounded than it was at the beginning of the season. The Hawkeyes moved the ball well and scored even without her in the play.

“Those are high-percentage shots, right?” Bluder said of Iowa’s dominant scoring in the paint. “We were able just to get layups … If they’re going to take away Caitlin, we’ll take the layup. That’s no big deal.”

Iowa led Bowling Green, 72-47, moving into the fourth quarter — a final quarter that saw the Hawkeyes extend the lead to nearly 30 with a beautiful pass that went the length of the court in transition from Clark to Martin.

“We just let our defense flow into our offense, and we were getting buckets in transition,” Martin said of the Hawkeyes’ pulling away toward the end of the game. “I think sometimes we can come out a little cold, and we knew we needed to step it up on defense especially, so we let that translate into some of our points there, and it helped.”

Bluder shuffled her bench into the game halfway through the quarter as Clark hit her 20-point mark, and the Hawkeyes carried the lead out to the 99-65 win.

Up next

The Hawkeyes are back on the road next, this time to Ames for a contest with the in-state rival Iowa State Cyclones.

The Cyclones are 3-3 on the year with double-digit losses to Drake, Vanderbilt, and Syracuse.

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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.