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 smashes Wisconsin behind double-digits in scoring from Clark, Stuelke

No other Hawkeye scored more than eight.
Grace Smith
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark smiles after shooting a three-pointer during a women’s basketball game between No. 4 Iowa and Wisconsin at a sold-out Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023.

MADISON, Wisc. – The No. 4 Iowa women’s basketball team smashed the Wisconsin Badgers in a conference-opening 87-65 win inside a sold-out Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sunday afternoon.

The Hawkeyes last escaped the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames on Wednesday with a scrappy 67-58 win, Caitlin Clark scoring 35 and guard Kate Martin adding 16 — but no other Hawkeye scored in double-digits.

At media availability on Friday, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said she wanted her team to spread the scoring a bit more this time around as well as near 20 assists in the game.

While the Hawkeyes notched 21 assists in the game, only two players scored in double digits.

The Badgers defended Clark scrappily, fouling and bumping her all afternoon long, but it contained her only so much: She managed 28 points, nine rebounds, and five assists in the game.

Iowa second-year forward Hannah Stuelke appeared back in full form after having her minutes limited on Wednesday due to a nagging leg injury. She followed Clark with 21 points of her own on 8-of-16 from the field.

“[It was] nice to have Hannah Stuelke back, obviously,” Bluder said. “Playing unlimited minutes tonight, she was able to play whatever we needed out of her, [so it’s] really good to have her back.”

Iowa center Sharon Goodman started the first quarter carrying much of the weight down low, soon going back and forth with Wisconsin second-year center Serah Williams as the Hawkeyes failed to connect from beyond the arc.

But Clark started to get going, finishing an and-one — and another shortly thereafter — and making a bullet pass through a handful of Badger defenders to Stuelke for a lay.

Stuelke had seven points in the first quarter as she remained active and aggressive around the paint, but Iowa was tied with Wisconsin at 21 apiece at the quarter’s end due to a very fluid Badgers offense that pushed the pace.

Iowa’s three-ball shooting woes did not quite end in the second quarter, shooting 3-of-14 from deep in the half, so the Hawkeyes continued to opt for cuts to and layups at the rim.

And Iowa started to take over in setting that pace and flow of the game, pushing the ball forward in transition and running with numbers to the bucket — all as “Let’s go Hawks” chants broke out in Kohl Center.

Clark finally connected on a deep three from the left at the shot clock’s buzzer, and she held a confident celebration for a moment before the Badgers attempted a final hoist that missed and secured the Hawkeyes’ 43-33 lead going into the half.

Offense turns on

Fortified, physical, and even fouling Iowa defense in the halfcourt to open the third made it difficult for Wisconsin to break out on a run of any sort.

And as the Hawkeyes moved the ball well in the halfcourt offense, a three from Iowa guard Kylie Feuerbach in the left slot forced a Badgers timeout with the Hawkeyes leading, 57-41, halfway through the quarter.

Iowa second-year guard Taylor McCabe joined in on the action, hitting a contested three on the right wing for her first points of the night despite playing a handful of minutes in the first half.

Another deep Clark three brought the “Let’s go Hawks” chants back as the Hawkeyes led by 18 and then 20 with her layup the next time down. Soon after, Iowa led, 70-51, moving into the final quarter.

So those three-point shooting woes early on eroded away, especially with Clark’s fourth of the game coming right off of the bat in the fourth quarter for her 28th point.

“I always feel like it’s contagious,” Bluder said of the shooting woes. “It just is like, man, somebody misses, and it’s like everyone starts doubting themselves. Somebody comes out and makes them — like in the second half, it was totally different, right?”

“I think sometimes it’s momentum, and I think sports is full of momentum swings and that sort of thing,” Bluder added. “So I think it was just a confidence issue more than anything.”

Stuelke’s 21st point came with three minutes left in the fourth, the win all but solidified with Iowa up 23 as Bluder rotated reserve forwards Jada Gyamfi and AJ Ediger in to ride the lead out until the final buzzer.

“I think it was really good to be back to myself today,” Stuelke said. “I was a little down. We talked about that, and coach helped me a lot getting back to myself, which is really helpful. I love her for that. But it felt great, being back out there today, jumping high.”

“This conference is so hard,” Bluder said. “Any time you go on the road, you’ve got to love it if you get a victory and walk out of there.”

Up next

The Hawkeyes have six days of rest and recuperation before another road trip on Dec. 16 — albeit much closer as they play Cleveland State in the HyVee Hawkeye Showcase in Des Moines.

The Vikings are leading the Horizon League with a 9-1 overall record, their only loss coming to Bowling Green — who Iowa beat — in their second game of the season.

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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.