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 advances to Elite Eight with win over Colorado

The Hawkeyes beat the Buffaloes, 89-68, and will play LSU on Monday in the Elite Eight.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa guard Kate Martin blocks Colorado guard Kindyll Wetta’s shot during a NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen game between No. 1 Iowa and No. 5 Colorado at MVP Arena in Albany, N.Y., on Saturday, March 30, 2024. (Ayrton Breckenridge/The Daily Iowan)
Caitlin Clark put up 29 points and tied a season-high 15 assists in Iowa's dominant 89-68 win vs. Colorado. Hawkeyes now prep for a National Championship rematch against LSU.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Iowa women’s basketball is headed to the Elite Eight after defeating Colorado 89-68 on Saturday.

Star point guard Caitlin Clark led the Hawkeye offense with 29 points, 15 assists, and six boards, while second-year post player Hannah Stuelke chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds. Iowa’s other three starters also scored in double figures — Kate Martin (14), Sydney Affolter (15), and Gabbie Marshall (14). The Hawkeyes shot 53 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point land.

“We always preach that there are five players on the court and everyone on the bench and, you know, no one’s more important than anyone else in our circle,” Affolter said postgame.

This marked the Hawkeyes’ fourth straight win over the Buffaloes, who they beat in last year’s Sweet 16 en route to the first national championship appearance in program history.

The Hawkeyes are now 32-4 overall, the most single-season wins in program history.

“I think this was the first time in about three games we were able to put together what felt like a complete basketball game on both ends of the floor, whether it was in transition or on defense or just really executing our offense,” Clark said. “So I think being able to build off of that and take that momentum into our next game [is important].”

Iowa will play LSU on Monday at 6 p.m. CDT with a spot in the Final Four on the line. LSU defeated UCLA, 78-69, to reach the Elite Eight for the second straight year under head coach Kim Mulkey. The Hawkeyes played the Tigers in the national title game last year and fell, 102-85.

How it happened 

A layup by Clark and a swish from downtown by Marshall gave the Hawkeyes an early 5-1 lead over the Buffaloes, and the crowd, heavily in favor of Iowa, exploded.

A few beautiful passes from the nation’s assists leader Clark in transition extended Iowa’s lead. One included a bounce pass from half-court to a leading Sydney Affolter that resulted in an and-1. At the first officials’ timeout, Iowa led 15-7, and every Hawkeye starter had at least two points.

Colorado’s Tameiya Sadler scored a layup, and then the Buffaloes forced a shot clock violation to help cut their deficit to four. A few plays later, Martin extended the Hawkeyes’ lead to six with a corner triple and then forced an offensive foul on the other end to regain possession. Clark bounced the ball down the court and found Stuelke in the paint, who knocked in a layup as the first-quarter buzzer sounded. Iowa was up 22-14, and Clark led all scorers with six points, three rebounds, and six assists after the first 10 minutes.

Head coach Lisa Bluder emphasized on Friday that the Hawkeyes would need to rebound better to beat Colorado, and she was pleased with her team’s performance. In last year’s Sweet 16, Colorado grabbed 21 offensive boards. The Buffaloes had 16 on Saturday, but Stuelke didn’t allow Aaronette Vonleh to grab one offensive board, which Bluder said is “really hard to do.”

Iowa opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run with a Martin layup and an and-one by Stuelke. A Clark 3-pointer from the right wing gave Iowa its biggest lead of the game so far at 14.

A three-ball by Colorado’s Frida Formann and a jumper by Jaylyn Sherrod gave the Buffaloes a little juice, but Clark continued to weave through the paint with ease to keep Iowa’s healthy lead intact. The Hawkeyes led 36-26 at the first media timeout of the second half.

“What they went with was more just chasing me off of ball screens and giving up drives, and luckily I think I only missed one two-point shot tonight,” Clark said in the postgame presser. “I didn’t shoot as great from three, but I thought my penetration to the basket was really good. I think that led to a few of my assists, too, because it made them pick and choose exactly what they wanted to do.”

Colorado managed to cut its deficit to 10 with 2:11 left, but Iowa made six of its final seven shots to head into the locker room with a 48-35 advantage. Clark, Stuelke, and Affolter led the Iowa offense at halftime with 15, 11, and 10 points, respectively, as the Hawkeyes shot 61 percent from the field. Clark also had eight boards and three assists.

Iowa forced two turnovers to start the third quarter, and Affolter capitalized off the second takeaway with an and-one. After the Buffaloes bricked two 3-pointers, Martin came down and swished a triple to put Iowa up by 19 and force a Colorado timeout.

Out of the break, the Buffaloes gained some momentum with a 3-pointer and layup. Clark answered with two easy layups and a steal to put Iowa up, 58-41, with 5:44 left in the third period.

In the final three minutes, Clark swished two 3-pointers and dished out an assist — her 12th of the game — to Affolter for a routine layup in transition. The Hawkeyes entered the fourth quarter with a 21-point lead, their largest of the game up to that point.

Marshall started the fourth quarter on a tear, knocking down three straight triples to make it 81-57 in favor of the Hawkeyes.

“When they went into that zone, it opened up more passes, and they were pretty spread out and worried about Caitlin up top,” Marshall said. “So just having my feet set and being ready to shoot is what I did out there when they switched to that zone.”

Second-year Jada Gyamfi checked in for the Hawkeyes with 2:32 to go and scored a layup off an assist from Clark. Fans started leaving the arena at this point, as Iowa cruised its way to a 89-68 win.

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About the Contributors
Kenna Roering
Kenna Roering, Sports Editor
Kenna Roering is The Daily Iowan's sports editor. She is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism with a minor in sports and recreation management. Kenna previously worked as a sports reporter for men's wrestling and volleyball and was the summer sports editor in 2023. This is her second year with the DI.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.