Hawkeyes Advance To Sweet 16 In Defensive Battle

Caitlin Clark shoots a three-pointer. (File photo)

Carver-Hawkeye Arena was full again for the last time this season for the NCAA 2nd round matchup of Iowa (1 st seed) vs West Virginia (8 th seed). The Hawkeye fans brought the energy tonight with what was potentially the loudest and most enthusiastic crowd the arena has seen all year. The fans striped the sections black and gold with their attire but they were unified when it came to cheering on the host team and made their presence known. The Hawkeyes come into the game a 15 point favorite, but had to fight for every point. Fans were delighted by Hawks winning the tip and Clark drawing a foul on the first possession.

West Virginia opened with a three pointer and made their presence known by running a full court press most of the game. WV made their way to  an early 5-0 lead. In true Caitlin  Clark fashion, fans were treated to a push-off logo three at 7:05 in the first but the victory cheers were short lived as WV answered with a three of their own.  Stuelke had an impressive first quarter after a lackluster performance on Saturday and not many minutes played. The Clark-Stuelke duo had some key plays in the first period and Stuelke had the crowd on their feet with two blocks to her name. Clark ended the first quarter with mine points and Stuelke with five as the Hawkeyes led 20-15.


The second quarter proved even more of a fight with very strong defenses as well as missed shots and turnovers for both teams. An uncharacteristic shot clock violation on Iowa as Stuelke fumbled the ball and had a lot of difficulty down low. Her momentum from the first quarter did not hold up for the second quarter. Fans were treated to a one on one Caitlin Clark vs JJ Quinerly fast break layup. Every point counted in the second as the Hawks only put in 6 points and West Virginia 4. The score at the half was 26-24 Iowa and no clear winner in sight. Both teams came out firing to start the third quarter.  Clark had some key plays taking  on four defenders and drawing a foul early as well as hitting multiple threes. Clark got an early 5-0 run in the period for the Hawks. Stuelke also got some redemption with a key rebound as well a foul ending in two points for Iowa putting the score at 38-26. West Virginia then went on a 9-0 run to get within three  at 38-35. WV put Iowa in the bonus and Clark at the line. Kate Martin came in clutch for Iowa with a key rebound plus one as well as drawing a foul on a three-point shot with one second left in the period. She hit two of the three free throws to put the Hawkeyes ahead by ten 48-38.

The final quarter proved to be a battle and a very physical quarter for both teams. Special note to WV’s  #00 for getting two quick fouls and blowing kisses to the crowd while headed to the bench for a rest. WV had a ten point run and eventually tied the game up 50-50 at 3:40 in the quarter. Marshall gad a key block against a three that was like déjà vu from her key block in the Big 10 tournament. Foul trouble by WV put the Hawks at the line several times with Clark making several appearances alone and hitting the season scoring records. Clark ended the game with 32 of the teams 64 points. The Hawks win 64-54 and will advance in the tournament to play in Albany next weekend.

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