Caitlin Clark, Lisa Bluder and Molly Davis react to the buzzy win on the road
Caitlin Clark receives a lot of questions about her play and fans' support of women's basketball. Plus, Molly D with Gus Johnson.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – What a game. What a player.
As Kaitlyn Clarke continues to shine in the spotlight, her game almost inexplicably reaches new levels.
On the FOX National Stage and with her every move broadcast for two straight hours on TikTok, Clarke avoided the booing and “airball” chants of loud booing. Maryland Rally in the coolest way you know how: delivering an aerial attack with deep 3-pointers, quick layups and turnovers.
Iowa State women's basketball shook off a brief injury scare, repelled the No. 4 Hawkeyes from three separate Maryland attacks, and cruised to a hard-fought 93-85 victory Saturday night at XFINITY Center.
more: Recap: Caitlin Clark, Iowa women's basketball wins at Maryland on Saturday
Clark finished with 38 points and 12 assists as the Hawkeyes improved to 21-2 overall, and 10-1 in Big Ten Conference play, while breaking a seven-game losing streak at Maryland for the program. The Hawkeyes lost here a year ago, 96-68, a game in which Clark was held to just 18 points. She has never scored fewer than 21 goals since then, in 33 matches.
Maryland fell to 12-10 and 4-7, suffering its fourth loss in a row.
“This is the first time I've felt happy in this press room, so I feel pretty good,” Iowa State head coach Lisa Bluder said. “Congratulations to Maryland for a great atmosphere. I mean, it was loud out there. It was difficult to communicate.”
Molly Davis' dagger 3-pointer with 40 seconds left put the finishing touches on Iowa's win and what had been a wildly entertaining contest all night. Davis finished with 17 points, and Kate Martin added 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. “Let's go Hawks!” Cheers from the spirited faithful culminated in the Iowa victory party.
The Hawkeyes outrebounded Maryland 48-32, grabbing 17 offensive rebounds, including one from Sidney Affolter and a layup by Davis to give Iowa an 89-80 lead.
“Good things happen when we get O-plates,” Davis said. “I think Hannah had about three girls, so that's why I was so open.”
The venue was packed with a crowd, with thousands of fans lining up at least two and a half hours before kickoff time to get a seat in the fourth sold-out venue in XFINITY Center history. Maryland's 70/30 arena was likely white and was sped up after an 11-0 Terrapins onslaught forced Bluder to call a timeout just 2:56 into the game.
Up to that point, Iowa State had gone six straight possessions without a point and trailed 11-3. The pause in work and noise seemed to calm the Hawkeyes. A spinning layup by Martin, a 3-pointer by Davis and a deep 3 by Clark quickly rallied the Hawkeyes to an 11-11 tie.
By the time the first quarter ended (which included Clark wowing the TikTok crowd with an insanely deep 3-pointer in front of FOX broadcaster Gus Johnson to establish a 17-13 advantage), Iowa State was ahead, 27-19, and had gone 7-for-9 from deep to tie the Program record for most 3 seconds in one quarter.
Clark scored 23 points in the first half, despite suffering a physical hit in the second quarter that led to her falling to Gary Williams Court. Fortunately, its absence was short – just 66 seconds – and it appeared as if the wind had blown it away.
However, the Terrapins were not going to go quietly, not against an opponent they had never lost to at home since joining the Big Ten in 2014. Maryland's 23-3 third-quarter run erased a 58-40 Iowa lead. Maryland made nine straight field goal attempts to start the period. But Clark's three assists and impressive 3-pointers from the right wing plus two free throws put the Hawkeyes back in front to close the third 73-66.
Maryland still isn't finished. The Terps managed to tie the game 76-76. But when crisis strikes, Clark is always there. The star senior buried a deep 3 from the left side (her favorite spot) and then sent a beautiful pass to Sydney Affolter for an 81-76 lead with 5:25 remaining.
Clark was right, when he was 76-76, the XFINITY Center was as loud as it had been all night. I quickly silenced them.
“That was a big play in the game, and when the crowd is loud, you have to ignore it,” Clark said. “I thought we did a really good job of that.”
Affolter's 3 (on a nice layup by Clark) pushed the lead to 84-78 with 3:29 remaining, and Iowa State was finally a little closer to exhaling and getting a big road win.
Clarke's 38 points give her 3,462 career points. At 66, she is now just shy of breaking Kelsey Bloom's NCAA career record of 3,527.
Every win is crucial for the Hawkeyes, who are seeking more than just a Big Ten Conference regular season title. They would like to get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament eventually as well.
They entered Saturday in a three-way tie atop the Big Ten standings with No. 7 Ohio State (which beat Iowa in Columbus) and No. 9 Indiana (which beat at Iowa City) at 9-1 in conference play. The Hoosiers play at Ohio State at noon on Sunday.
“This is a huge win for our program,” Clark said. “Anytime you can steal one win on the road, it's a big win in the Big Ten standings.”
Iowa State next hosts Penn State (16-6, 7-4) at 8 p.m. Thursday, followed by a Super Bowl trip Sunday to Nebraska (14-8, 6-5).
Hawkeyes columnist Chad Listico has covered sports for 29 years with The Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Sports Network. Join Chad's texting group (free for subscribers) at HawkCentral.com/HawkeyesTexts. Follow @ChadLeistikow on Twitter.
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