Fourth-ranked Iowa women win by 34 at Rutgers before sellout crowd
Caitlin Clark records 14th career triple-double in 103-69 victory
By Everett Merrill
PISCATAWAY, New Jersey – By now you are aware of the gaudy statistics surrounding Iowa’s All-American guard Caitlin Clark: the first Division-I player to record 3,000+ points, 900+ assists, and 800+ rebounds in a career; the most 30+ point games in men’s or women’s college basketball over the last 25 seasons (45), adding up to the NCAA’s fifth all-time leading scorer.
Clark, a senior from West Des Moines, is on pace to top Kelsey Plum’s scoring record (3,527), set in 2017. Perhaps more impressively, Clark could also top the men’s scoring record, set by Pete Maravich of LSU in 1970 (3,667 points), back before the 3-point line existed.
She posted the 14th triple-double of her career in Friday’s 103- 69 decisive win over Rutgers, scoring 29 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Iowa, No. 4 in the AP poll, has now won 12 straight. It marked the 51st time Clark has scored at least 25 points, recorded five or more assists and grabbed five or more rebounds.
In four regular season meetings and one Big Ten tournament contest against Rutgers, Clark has scored a combined 125 points.
She exited the game with 6:20 left to a loud ovation from the crowd, including members of her family who were seated directly behind the Iowa bench. The Hawkeyes made a field trip out of their only visit to the NY Metropolitan area this season, taking in a show on Thursday and visiting the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center.
“We had the NYC-Metro Iowa Hawkeye Club,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder. “I didn’t even know there was one.”
Clark was equally comfortable high fiving the dozens of young girls before Friday’s game as she was slicing through the Rutgers defense.
“It only takes a second to make someone’s day,” she said. “That’s how I was raised. The crowd was incredible. It was great to see a lot of little girls. It’s the most I’ve seen in a long time.
“The cheer I got when I was leaving the court was cool. It seems like we have fans all over the country. We play a fun style of basketball that people love to watch. We are starting to get used to the sell-out crowds but it’s something we don’t take for granted.”
What’s impressive, too, is the high level at which Clark plays at with such lofty expectations. Her dazzling style of play, which includes launching buzzer-beater shots from half court, has captivated a national audience who may be unfamiliar with the top-notch brand of women’s college hoops. Along with Iowa’s run to an appearance in the national title game last season, it has helped Clark ascend to new heights of notoriety, while taking the women’s game to a higher level, too
She is the first college athlete to collaborate with State Farm Insurance, featured in a commercial alongside Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat, NBA legend Reggie Miller and Jake from State Farm. Clark recently signed a NIL partnership with Gatorade, joining UConn’s Paige Bueckers as the only college basketball players to sign on with the global brand.
She even appeared as a guest with Eli and Peyton Manning on their Monday Night Football show earlier this season.
“I think one of the things that makes Iowa such a dynamic team is the way that Caitlin’s teammates play with her and around her,” Rutgers coach Coquese Washington said. “It’s pretty special when you have teammates who understand how to allow generational talent to be herself and to make you better. Play within the framework that makes everyone at their best. Her teammates do a great job of that.”
Washington called Clark “the Tom Brady at the point.” Because she makes those ‘pin-point passes.”
“It’s like watching a genius at work,” said Washington of Clark. “She is an amazing player.”
Before the game there was a moment of silence to honor those who were killed in the school shooting in Perry, Iowa — which is near where Clark grew up.
“I grew up 40 minutes away and you know it gave me chills in that moment of silence,” Clark said. “Thinking and praying for all those people affected and as you saw we were wearing blue ribbons and supporting them tonight.”
Stringer honored: Former Iowa and Rutgers Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer was honored before the game for being named a 2024 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Basketball. Stringer led Rutgers to the national championship game in 2007 and prior to that had a successful career at Iowa. Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder presented Stringer with flowers before both teams gathered at center court behind Stringer.