Caitlin Clark averages more than 30 points per game against Nebraska. She averages more than 30 per game this year against everyone but she generally takes it up a notch against Nebraska. Will today be more of the same?
The short answer to that is “yes”. Read on if you want the gory details.
Both teams came up empty on their first few possessions but Caitlin Clark hit one of her patented long threes to start the game. She followed that by finding Martin for the layup and Iowa led 5-0 and Amy Williams called a timeout. The offensive troubles continued after the timeout as the Huskers came up empty on even more possessions. Fortunately, Nebraska’s defense kept the high-powered Hawkeyes below their scoring average.
Nebraska keeps firing up three pointers (and missing) because Iowa rightly knows to focus on Alexis Markowski and keep the Huskers out of the paint. The Iowa lead grew to 9-0 before Callin Hake drew a foul on Caitlin Clark and made one of two free throws (9-1 Iowa) at 4:50. Markowski made the first Husker field goal (9-3 Iowa).
The Huskers made a big move at the end of the first with Markowski and Shelley powering the team (10-8 Iowa) at 1:37. Jaz Shelley decided she wasn’t done (12-11 Iowa). The quarter ended with an Iowa pull up jumper.
Iowa 14 Nebraska 11
Natalie Potts got Nebraska on the board early to close the Huskers within one (14-13 Iowa). A Hawkeye turnover and foul on Darian White gave Nebraska their first lead (15-14 Neb). The Hawkeyes look very discombobulated as Darian White is gaining steam. Back and forth ball ensued and Iowa held a 20-19 lead at the six minute mark and it grew to 22-19 at the media timeout.
The Huskers scored five out of the timeout to take a 24-22 lead, but Iowa tied it quickly. Markowski drew a foul and gave the Huskers another lead. Nebraska earned a four point lead to force an Iowa timeout (31-27 Neb) at the two minute mark.
The Hawkeyes went on a 9-0 run to end the half.
Iowa 36 Nebraska 31
The Hawkeyes picked up right where they left off with some hot offense. The Huskers managed to pick up a few points but trailed 42-35 at the eight minute mark. Clark hit two threes in a row to extend the lead to 13 (48-35 Iowa) and force a timeout.
Iowa continued to extend the lead after the midpoint (51-36 Iowa). The Huskers grabbed a basket from Markowski behind a great pass from Shelley. It was answered by a three from Clark, a basket from Shelley and another three by Clark (57-40 Iowa). This one is starting to get away from Nebraska.
A whole bunch of scoring ended the quarter, including some nifty shooting by Logan Nissley.
Iowa 63 Nebraska 49
Can the Huskers carry their momentum into the final frame and continue to close on the Hawkeyes?
Markowski picked up an offensive foul to start the quarter. But then, the unthinkable happened. Shelley touched Clark and wasn’t called for a foul!! The refs must not have seen such an egregious break in protocol. Shelley followed that with a three which was immediately answered by Clark (66-52 Iowa).
Clark went over 30 points with yet another three to barely beat the shot clock. Iowa is maintaining, and extending their lead (73-56 Iowa) at seven minutes. Clark was called for an offensive foul (Shelley) and the ridiculous boos rained down.
The Huskers managed a scoring run of five but gave up an “and one” play on the other end (76-61 Iowa). A Shelley three and Hake free throw closed the lead to 11 (76-65 Iowa). But, Iowa is the #5 team and one of the top offenses in the country for a reason as they answered that run and more (82-65 Iowa).
Shelley rolled an ankle and is a lot of pain. Yikes.
Turnovers are hurting Nebraska badly right now and Iowa is doing what good teams do. They take advantage of it. Clark sits down with 38 points and less than two minutes to go (87-68 Iowa).
More basketball happened. The announcer drooling over Clark is nauseating.
Final. Iowa 92 Nebraska 73
Stats and Thoughts
Three Huskers managed double figures; Shelley (19), Markowski (17) and Hake (11). Markowski notched her typical double double with 11 rebounds.
Iowa was the better team and was playing at home so this is pretty much what any sane fan would expect for an outcome. Iowa outshot the Huskers 53% to 39% and forced 20 turnovers while committing only 11 of their own.
The Huskers host the Purdue Boilermakers on Wednesday evening. Tipoff is at 7 pm.