By Susan Harman
IOWA CITY, Iowa – After a sluggish start Iowa blitzed Wisconsin in the second and third quarters and ran away to a 96-50 victory before a full house at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Second-ranked Iowa is now 18-1 and 7-0 in the Big Ten and headed to another showdown at Ohio State on Sunday. Iowa’s winning streak increased to 15 games.
This was the 29th victory in a row for the Hawkeyes over the Badgers, the longest winning streak against any Big Ten team.
Caitlin Clark led the way with 32 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Clark passed former Baylor star Brittney Greiner on the NCAA career scoring list for fourth place.
Kate Martin added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. Sydney Affolter came off the bench to score 12, grab six rebounds and make four assists.
“I thought Syd just worked so hard again,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “I mean that girl just hustles; she’s on the floor; she has the highest plus/minus on the team (+36).
“Kate Martin just continues to play like a pro. She’s really playing well, strong and confident. Not forcing stuff, just playing her game.”
“It helps whenever they have to double Caitlin, they have to help inside, and they have to help on Caitlin, and I was open to knock down some shots,” Martin said.
The Hawkeyes also made 23-of-26 free throws (.885).
Iowa ran its fast break to perfection in the key quarters. How efficient were the Hawkeyes? They had 25 assists on their 29 baskets. Nine different players had assists. Iowa outscored Wisconsin 50-20 in the second half.
The Hawkeyes’ defense was instrumental in their win over Indiana, and it was terrific again, albeit in a completely different form. Iowa used a zone that shifted quickly and constantly enabling Iowa to double-team Serah Williams, the Badgers’ talented center, and still cover the arc. The Badgers made just 4-of-20 3-pointers.
“I was really happy with our defense in this game,” Bluder said. “We forced 28 turnovers, just did a great job, had 17 steals and held them to 20 points in the second half.”
Iowa scored 42 points off the Badgers’ 28 turnovers.
“Our zone wasn’t very good at their place,” Bluder said. “We haven’t been able to use it much. We haven’t either wanted to or our player(-to-player defense) was doing fine. I really liked our zone and we work on it every day in practice.”
Hannah Stuelke was not available to play with an unspecified injury from practice, but the three-headed post of Sharon Goodman, Addie O’Grady and A.J. Ediger handled things in the paint. While Williams finished with 19 points she also committed seven turnovers.
“I thought we made Serah a little apprehensive with the double,” Bluder said. “I thought she started to question. She had seven turnovers herself, so I think that was really a good job.”
Bluder at one point, went with five guards, and that worked just fine as Iowa tore up and down the court with abandon and Martin filled in at the post.
“It creates problems for them on the opposite end of the floor too,” Martin said. “It’s not easy to guard the fives, but you know it’s not easy for them to guard me on the opposite end.”
Another highlight for Iowa was its bench scoring. The Hawkeyes got 38 points off the bench compared to four for the Badgers.
“I really believe this is the strongest bench we’ve had in a long time,” Bluder said. “I have so much confidence going into our bench, I really do.”