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

Slow shooting start fails to stump Hawkeyes in hot second half, 87-65 win over Wisconsin

The Hawkeyes shot 61 percent from the field and 75 percent from three in the second half.
Grace Smith
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark shoots 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. Clark led Iowa in points with 28. The Hawkeyes defeated the Badgers, 87-65.

MADISON, Wisc. – When shots aren’t falling, good basketball teams find a way to win games. The No. 4 Iowa women’s basketball team did just that on Sunday — but shooting became the answer why.

The Hawkeyes smashed the Wisconsin Badgers, 87-65, inside of a sold-out Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sunday afternoon — but the game was tight until the second half as Iowa struggled to find the bottom of the bucket early on.

In the first half, the Hawkeyes shot 42 percent from the field on making 16 of 38 attempts as well as 21 percent from three with 11 misses and just three makes — including an 0-for-5 start from three in the first quarter.

So the Badgers and Hawkeyes were tied at 21 apiece after one, pulling away to a 10-point lead moving into the half as Iowa started to find a groove — a lead Bluder called “tremendous.”

“You go in with a 10-point cushion instead of just a couple [of points] — mentally it just helps you so much,” she said. “But I thought our clock management was really good in that last minute [of the half] too.”

By the second half, the Black and Gold offense opened up a lot more.

The Hawkeyes shot 61 percent from the field in the second half on 17-of-28, including 75 percent from three on 6-of-8 beyond the arc.

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder called the slow shooting start a “confidence issue.”

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

And Bluder said at media availability on Friday that she wanted roughly 20 assists and a wider spread of scoring ahead of the matchup on Sunday.

Although the Hawkeyes notched 21 assists in the game, Caitlin Clark and second-year forward Hannah Stuelke carried the brunt of the offensive load.

Clark and Stuelke finished in double-digits in scoring with 28 and 21, respectively.

Clark scored 15 in the first half alone on a solid 6-of-11 showing from the field, but she missed four of her five three-point attempts then and showed visible frustration as such attempts hit the back rim and bounced away.

That one connection, though, was a deep ball as the shot clock buzzer sounded, that connection allowing her to pause and confidently celebrate her heating up.

In the second half, she made all three. 

Stuelke was consistent all night in her bounce-back game after seeing limited minutes against Iowa State on Wednesday due to a nagging leg injury.

She shot 8-of-16 from the field and 5-of-8 from the free throw line, a testament to her physical yet mobile play around the rim to provide scoring support for the Hawkeyes.

“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.”

But no other Hawkeye scored more than eight, that eight belonging to guard Kylie Feuerbach.

Still, aside from the three reserves Bluder circled in at the end of the game to give the starters rest, every Hawkeye scored in the contest. Iowa guards Sydney Affolter, Taylor McCabe, and Gabbie Marshall followed Feuerbach with seven, six, and six, respectively.

Even so, the Iowa offense is still looking for that consistently solid trio of scoring that it had last year in Clark, Monika Czinano, and McKenna Warnock — a trio that could prove crucial when the Hawkeyes aim to be a deep roster to defeat come postseason play.

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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.