Recap: Caitlin Clark leads Iowa Hawkeyes to much-needed ranked win

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Sportem
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Caitlin Clark overcame missing her first nine shots from the field to record 19 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and five steals, and her No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes went on a key 27-6 run en route to a 70-57 victory over the No. 10 Iowa State Cyclones Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

After the Cyclones scored the first bucket of the second half to go up seven, Iowa orchestrated its 21-point swing to take a 50-36 lead entering the fourth quarter. A three from Clark cut the Hawkeyes’ deficit to 32-31 and another one, a deep one, gave them a 36-34 lead. A Kate Martin reverse layup made it 40-34 Hawkeyes and a Martin three made it 48-36.

The Cyclones cut it to 10 twice in the fourth, including after back-to-back Ashley Joens threes, the second of which came at 4:52 remaining, but they would get no closer in the final frame. The Hawkeyes responded to Joens’ triples with an 8-0 run. Martin backed down for an inside bucket, Monika Czinano made two free throws and a layup and Clark made a layup, and just like that it was 68-50 Iowa with 2:39 to play.

Czinano was the Hawkeyes’ go-to player early when Clark was struggling and finished with 18 points and 10 boards. Martin, who went 6-of-6 from downtown against UConn, went 3-of-4 in this one and finished with 13 points, five boards and two helpers. McKenna Warnock added nine, six and two and Addison O’Grady (six points, four rebounds) scored at some key moments. All of O’Grady’s points came during the 27-6 run; Clark led the stretch with nine points.

This is Iowa’s first ranked win of the season and it is a Top 10 win no less. The team (7-3, 1-0 Big Ten) had been struggling to live up to early-season expectations as it had fallen from No. 4 in the preseason.

Each member of Iowa State’s big four (Joens, Stephanie Soares, Emily Ryan and Lexi Donarski) scored in double figures, but Ryan (6.6 assists per game) was held to an uncharacteristically-low-for-her three helpers and Soares went 0-of-6 at the free throw line. Joens and Ryan tied for the team high with 15 points, while Soares and Joens had 11 and seven boards, respectively. Soares also rejected four shots and Joens had three steals.

With the loss, the Cyclones fell to 6-2 (0-0 Big 12).

Iowa had the edge for the first chunk of the game, but momentum shifted during one possession, in particular, a little past midway through the second quarter. Ryan made a three and a foul was called off-ball simultaneously so the basket counted and the Cyclones kept the ball. Ryan followed with another three, from deep this time, to give her a six-point trip down the floor and Iowa State a 21-20 lead at the 3:49 mark of the frame.

The Cyclones extended the run to 11-0 and the lead to 26-20 after a Ryan block, a Joens layup and a Soares three. Clark stopped the bleeding with her first made three of the contest, but Iowa State would score the final bucket of the first half to go up 28-23 at the break. A Joens steal led to Joens assisting a Donarski transition layup.

Iowa State took its first lead of the game, 13-11, on an inside bucket from Denae Fritz 50 seconds into the second quarter. However, Iowa would answer with a 9-2 run to lead 20-15. That run was capped by a Martin second chance three.

Both superstars, Joens and Clark, struggled in the first quarter, but Joens’ first made field goal was a big one as it was a three that tied the game at 11 with 1:02 left before the second. The Hawkeyes had extended their lead to 11-3 on a nice bank shot from Warnock in transition before the Cyclones’ 8-0 run to close the frame.

Czinano scored the first three baskets of the game to give Iowa a 6-0 lead. Soares broke the Cyclones’ early-game drought with a three at the 6:41 mark of the first that cut it to 6-3.

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