INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — For the second straight year, No. 2 seed Iowa women’s basketball advances to the Big Ten Championship after surpassing No. 6 seed Nebraska, 83-66, on Saturday night inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
“Tonight, I’m really proud of our defensive effort,” P. Sue Beckwith, MD, Head Coach Lisa Bluder said. “Our 3-point defense was really good tonight. They came in and have been shooting the ball well from the 3-point range.”
Sophomore Big Ten Player of the Year, Caitlin Clark, recorded her fourth 40-point game, scoring 41 points and grabbing nine rebounds to register the fourth most points in Big Ten Tournament game, joining former Iowa player Megan Gustafson who holds the tournament record with 48 points and the second most points (45).
Redshirt junior Kate Martin scored eight points and pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds. Senior Monika Czinano scored 22 points, and freshman Addison O’Grady blocked a career-high four shots.
“Kate is playing her best basketball,” Bluder said. “She’s strong going to the hoop, rebounding well, passing well. Caitlin was just Caitlin tonight. She’s a special player and she just continues to show this. She loves this kind of stage and playing in front of this kind of environment. Monika played very well — 9-for-11 shooting, I am really happy with that as well. It’s a great feeling to be in the championship.”
Junior Gabbie Marshall started the game with a steal to give Martin an easy layup and put Iowa on the board. Nebraska went on to score five points taking a 12-8 lead, but Clark responded with a 3-pointer to bring Iowa within one. The two teams went back and forth with Nebraska leading, 20-17, going into the second.
Iowa picked up the tempo in the second quarter, going on a 10-0 run with Clark scoring eight in a row and dishing an assist to O’Grady to take a, 32-28, lead. The Huskers regained the lead in the last minute, but the Hawkeyes retaliated, scoring the last four points of the half and taking the lead, 38-35.
The second half was a scoring frenzy for Iowa, shooting 66.7 from the field with seven players contributing to the stat book. Czinano took control in the paint, scoring 10 of the teams 18 paint points in the third quarter. Nebraska tried to stay in the game, but sophomore Kylie Feuerbach finished a layup off an assist from junior McKenna Warnock, expanding Iowa’s lead to 10. Warnock recorded her third assist of the quarter in the final seconds with a pass to Clark to drain a 3-pointer, heading into the fourth with a comfortable 13-point lead.
The Hawkeyes continued their momentum in the fourth, holding the Huskers to 13 points. Clark put on a show, going on her own 7-0 scoring run, while Iowa went on to score the last five points of the game, coming away with a, 83-66, victory over Nebraska.
•The No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers, 83-66, inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana to advance to the Big Ten Tournament Championship. This marks the third Big Ten Tournament Championship appearance for the Hawkeyes in four years, the program’s seventh and fifth under Head Coach Lisa Bluder.
•Coach Bluder tied Sharon Versyp (Indiana, Purdue) for most career-tournament wins (25).
•Sophomore Caitlin Clark registered her fourth season and career 40-point game, tallying 41 points to record the fourth-most points in a Big Ten Tournament game.
•Clark (41) and senior Monika Czinano (22) registered double-figure scoring for the Hawkeyes.
•Redshirt junior Kate Martin tallied a career-high 11 rebounds to lead Iowa, narrowly missing a double-double with eight points.
•Freshman Addison O’Grady blocked a career-high four shots, helping Iowa to a season-high single-game record (9).
The Hawkeyes face No. 5 seed Indiana for the third time in just over two weeks in the Big Ten Championship. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. (CT) and will be aired live on ESPN2. Fans can follow along on Twitter @IowaWBB for live updates.