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

Iowa women’s basketball sneaks by West Virginia to Sweet 16 in low-scoring battle

The Hawkeyes shot 36 percent from the field en route to just 64 points.
Grace Smith
Iowa guard Kate Martin and West Virginia guard Kyah Watson fight for a rebound during an NCAA Tournament Second Round game between No. 1 Iowa and No. 8 West Virginia at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, March 24, 2024. The Hawkeyes defeated the Mountaineers, 64-54.

The first-seeded Iowa women’s basketball team snuck by the eighth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers, 64-54, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday.

In her last Hawkeye home game, Caitlin Clark poured in 32 points on 8-for-22 from the field, 5-for-14 from deep, and 11-for-12 from the free throw line.

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And after playing just 10 minutes in Iowa’s first round win over Holy Cross on Saturday due to a lingering migraine, forward Hannah Stuelke was a defensive fortress with four blocks in the game. She added a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds too.

“She helped us so much on the defensive end, the rebounding end, and just being able to transition like she does,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We didn’t get that many transition offensive points, but her being able to transition back on defense was also really important for us.”

Guards Sydney Affolter and Kate Martin scored 13 and seven, respectively, but no other Hawkeye scored.

It was by no means a pretty performance, in fact, as no other Hawkeye scored and the team shot just 36 percent from the field and 23 percent from deep. That’s due much to WVU’s impressively scrappy and restless defense for a full 40 minutes tonight.

“This might have been our lowest field goal percentage that we’ve ever won a game with,” Bluder said. “We found a way to win in a different way, and we won with our defense tonight.”

The Mountaineers got out to a 5-0 lead with a basketball-smart offense of passes and cuts for easy looks. And hard-nosed face-guarding on Clark made it very tough for her to get clean looks — even as she smacked a three from the left wing.

The Mountaineers forced five turnovers in the first quarter, frequently jumping the first pass in the full-court press whenever the Hawkeyes secured defensive rebounds. And they rotated into the right spots in their backcourt to intercept Iowa passes.

But, with the much-smaller JJ Quinerly defending her, she smacked another to tie the game at 13 apiece into the media timeout. And one more on her signature off-balanced step-back. 

The cold shooting streak throughout the last two weeks was over, and she was quickly in her groove, moving the offensive flow through her with the rock in her hands. So Iowa took a steady 20-15 lead into the second quarter.

And while Iowa struggled to get into an offensive groove to start that period, WVU could not quite convert and capitalize. That made the game a scrappy stalemate, including a rare Iowa shot clock violation, for the entire quarter.

Persistent energy in the WVU offense put the Mountaineers within two with just over a minute remaining — and back-to-back missed Clark threes certainly helped.

The Hawkeyes did not take care of the ball in that second quarter either — up to nine turnovers in the first half — and Iowa failed to score over the last five minutes of game clock. So the lead was just 26-24, Iowa, to start the second half as WVU won the second quarter by just nine points to Iowa’s six.


The third quarter started with a back-and-forth exchange, but a Clark corner three got CHA on its feet with the Hawkeyes pulling away just slightly to a seven-point lead.

That was before Clark drilled a huge three from the left wing that seemingly shifted the trajectory of the game, Iowa up 11, but the Mountaineers maintained. They stayed true to the flow of their offense, cut the Hawkeye lead down to two, and hugged Clark closely on the other end.

But an and-one from Martin and then Clark pushed Iowa back up to a multiple-possession lead, and the Hawkeyes brought a 48-38 lead into the final 10 minutes of play.

And again, WVU hit two tough buckets and remained active on defense to shrink Iowa’s lead to five and coerce Clark into a forced three with the shot clock winding down. And another that missed the rim entirely, ultimately giving the Mountaineers a good look at a three that connected — and tied the game at 48s.

“Our group wasn’t flustered by any means when they tied it up,” Clark said. “Yes we had so many opportunities tonight where we got to a 10-point lead, a seven-point lead, and we couldn’t figure out a way to extend it.”

Iowa up two, tied. Up two, tied again. Two minutes left, Iowa’s Gabbie Marshall swiped a three-point attempt from Quinerly, leading to an Affolter and-one in transition. Up three. 

With Quinerly fouled out and a Stuelke free throw before two more from Clark, the Hawkeyes led by six and did not look back, closing the win out from the charity stripe to keep dancing.

“The second half — we got to the free throw line early in both quarters: That was our best offense, was drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line,” Bluder said. “We’re a good free throw shooting team, and by far, getting to the free-throw line was the easiest way for us to score.”

Up next

History has a funny way of doing things.

That’s because the Hawkeyes will next make the long-awaited journey to Albany, New York, for a Sweet Sixteen rematch with the fifth-seeded Colorado Buffaloes on March 30.

The Buffs finished this season ranked 17th in the AP Poll with a 22-9 record. They beat fourth-seeded Kansas State, 63-50, in the second round — but last year lost to the Hawkeyes, 87-77, in the Sweet Sixteen as the Black and Gold made a trip to the National Championship.

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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.
Grace Smith
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.