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 sneaks by Iowa State for 67-58 win in Ames

Neither team shot lights-out, but Caitlin Clark’s 35 points propelled the Hawkeyes.
Grace Smith
Iowa guard Molly Davis and Iowa State forward Jalynn Bristow fight for the ball during the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, a basketball game between No. 4 Iowa and Iowa State, at a sold-out Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023.

The No. 4 Iowa women’s basketball team snuck by the Iowa State Cyclones for a 67-58 win in a loud, rowdy, and sold-out Hilton Coliseum in Ames on Wednesday night.

Caitlin Clark crossed the 3,000-point threshold for her career in the contest as she resorted to the three more than the drive despite a cold shooting patch halfway through — ultimately hitting six of her 16 three attempts as she propelled the Hawkeyes forward in the third.

“That is a very hard thing to do,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said of the achievement. “And to do it this early in her senior season is amazing, so huge congratulations [goes] to Caitlin on accomplishing that, and [the team is] just very thankful for her.”

But both teams struggled to score throughout much of the game, due in part to stellar defense but more to the inability to connect on open shots, Iowa shooting 22-for-63 while Iowa State shot 22-for-64 in the game.

Iowa guard Kate Martin was second behind Clark’s 35 in scoring for the Black and Gold in the game with 16 points.

“I count on her to step up for us,” Bluder said of Martin. “We know Caitlin gets all the attention as far as defensive attention, and so people don’t understand how good she is and how hard she is to guard. She’s explosive off of the dribble. She can post you up. She rebounds well. She can knock down the three. In my mind, Kate doesn’t get enough credit.”

Iowa second-year forward Hannah Stuelke made her return to the floor today after missing the last couple of games with a lower right leg injury, tonight coming off of the bench in a more limited role.

Clark opened the game with a three and hit another with the shot clock winding down soon thereafter as the Hawkeyes came out with an early lead.

While the Cyclones started slow, ultimately shooting 6-of-18 from the field in the first, they kept the game close and tied it toward the end of the first quarter — even taking the lead on a powerful layup in the paint from center Audi Crooks.

But Clark hit another off-balanced three, Iowa State still unable to guard the high ball screen that Clark and center Sharon Goodman run, and Martin hit a three of her own to put Iowa up six. 

A Cyclones three from the top of the key gave the Hawkeyes just a three-point advantage going into the second quarter — a quarter in which Clark cooled down as she started it 0-for-3 from deep before taking a rest.

The contest was a tied stalemate for much of the period, Clark finally connecting on her fourth three of the game just under the halfway mark but the Cyclones still finding a response — especially as Crooks remained the dominant scorer on their end of the floor.

Stuelke even joined in on the three-point bonanza, drilling one from the top of the key when Crooks sagged into the lane and dared her to shoot.

“I don’t think she’s full right now; I think you don’t see her being quite as explosive,” Bluder said of Stuelke, noting the need to limit her minutes. “But you like to see her hit that three. That was fun. She’s been working hard on that, and I’m really glad that she’s confident coming out and shooting that.”

But Iowa struggled to find the bottom of the net in the second quarter, shooting 4-of-18 from the field in the period behind eight missed Clark field goals. 

So the in-state rivals entered their respective locker rooms tied at 34 apiece moving into halftime, paving the way for a clean slate at the start of the second half.

Close one to the close

The Cyclones opted to have Crooks back Goodman down in the paint and make use of her size advantage to score to start the third quarter. But the Hawkeyes’ forwards were physical and persistent in the paint to aid in the offense’s ability in pulling away to a small lead by the halfway mark of the quarter

Clark’s 3,000th career point came on a three — how else? — from the right side of the floor, and the cheers in response sounded as if the make had come inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. 

In fact, the Des Moines local had all 14 of Iowa’s 14 third-quarter points, every other Hawkeye shooting much less than her and nonetheless missing as Iowa led by just three at the third quarter’s final buzzer.

And tensions rose toward the end of the third as the officials both missed and made a handful of calls to a mix of anger and pleasure from the players, coaches, and fans — making for both a close and exciting final leg of the game.

The Hawkeyes continued to miss shots in the fourth quarter, the Cyclones capitalizing with an 8-0 run over two minutes to take a one-point lead as the Hilton Coliseum erupted — to the point where the players could not hear the officials’ whistles.

“I’ve got to give credit to their fans,” Clark said. “They were tremendous tonight, and they’re loud. They support women’s basketball. They make it fun out there as a competitor.”

As Iowa State reverted to backing down Iowa’s smaller guards in the paint, the Hawkeyes again remained strong on the defensive end and extended the lead to six on the other end of the floor.

In the second half, Crooks did not score from the field, and the Cyclones missed all seven three-point attempts.

“I’m just proud of our group: I thought we really battled,” Clark said. “Not really a pretty game for us, and I thought our second quarter wasn’t the greatest, and we went into halftime and reset our minds. In the fourth quarter, I thought our maturity shined through.”

A Martin steal and Iowa State foul effectively closed the door on any chance for an upset, and Iowa narrowly escaped Ames with a 67-58 win.

“I think it does show our growth — you just rise to the challenge,” Clark said. “They take the lead … People are going crazy, and our group just continues to talk in the huddle. It doesn’t faze each other, and I think that just speaks to the leaders we have on this team and the group that we have. As long as you have each other’s backs, no challenge is too big or too small.”

Up next

The 9-1 Hawkeyes are again on the road on Sunday, this time to Madison, Wisconsin, for a contest against another local rival in the Wisconsin Badgers.

The Badgers are 5-3 this season, falling to the Butler Bulldogs, 59-51, in their last contest at home on Dec. 3. 

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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.