Caitlin Clark recorded her eighth career triple-double Monday night at Value City Arena in Columbus, leading her No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes to an 83-72 victory over the No. 2 and previously unbeaten Ohio State Buckeyes.
Monika Czinano returned to the game with four fouls at 5:48 remaining and scored the next six Iowa points for a 6-2 run vs. Ohio State after which the Hawkeyes led by 10 and by at least eight the rest of the way. It was reminiscent of the 10 straight Iowa points Czinano scored in the first quarter. There were times when Czinano (22 points, 11-of-13 from the field) got exactly what she wanted and Clark was always there to deliver the ball to her and others, finishing with 15 assists to go along with her 28 points and 10 rebounds.
Kate Martin added 13 points, 11 boards and four assists for the winners, while freshman Hannah Stuelke was good for eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
A three from Molly Davis opened the fourth-quarter scoring and was huge because it gave the Hawkeyes (16-4, 8-1 Big Ten) a five-point lead and took the lid off the bucket for them after a rough finish to the third.
After a 4-0 individual run by Sydney Affolter made it 56-44 Iowa, Ohio State (19-1, 8-1 Big Ten) shut down the Hawkeyes for the remaining 5:56 of the third. The Buckeyes’ press created a Cotie McMahon steal at the 5:18 mark of the third, which led to an Eboni Walker layup that cut it to 56-46 at 5:11. Czinano traveled on the ensuing possession and Ohio State leading scorer Taylor Mikesell came back with a floater. Iowa’s offense kept on struggling; a shot clock violation was called on it at 3:30, Emma Shumate blocked a Martin jumper at 2:54 and Clark lost the ball out of bounds at 1:42. The final Hawkeye turnover of the frame led to a McMahon layup and 3-point play opportunity at the one-minute mark. McMahon missed the free throw, but Ohio State had cut it to 56-54 and that was the score entering the fourth.
Clark had nine assists at halftime; she turned up the scoring over the first half of the third. She scored seven of Iowa’s first nine points in the frame to boost her up to 19 points for the game. She made 3-of-4 free throws, then took a steal the other way for a layup and, finally, hit a deep two to make it 52-43 Hawkeyes.
Save for McMahon’s layup to open the frame’s scoring, the second quarter was a 20-8 run for Iowa. A key play early in the run was when McMahon tried to take it coast-to-coast but got her layup attempt blocked by Martin before Clark took the defensive rebound and showed the Ohio State freshman how it’s done by slicing through the Buckeye defense for a successful coast-to-coast layup that put the Hawkeyes up 27-26.
A Clark three at the 7:22 mark of the second increased Iowa’s lead to 32-26. Stuelke scored the next two Hawkeye baskets to increase her point total to six. She made a nice inside move before finishing a layup to make it 34-26 and then received a long pass from Clark for a layup in transition that made it 36-28. Everything was clicking for the Iowa offense.
A Martin three with 4:15 left before the break made it 39-30 Hawkeyes and Iowa would lead by nine at halftime as well after Clark got it to Czinano for a layup at the buzzer of the second.
Gabbie Marshall prevented Ohio State from going on a big game-opening run with a three from the right corner that cut it to 4-3. A Martin three also cut it to one (7-6) not long after. Czinano would score the next 10 Hawkeye points, so it wasn’t until a floater that made it 18-14 Iowa that Clark scored. Rebeka Mikulášiková answered with a 3-point play for the Buckeyes. Later, when Clark hit her first deep three of the game to make it 23-19 Hawkeyes, Ohio State answered again with a 5-0 run to close the first. Mikesell made a three with two seconds left to ensure her Buckeyes had the final say in the frame.
Ohio State’s best player, Jacy Sheldon, did not play and hasn’t played since Nov. 30 due to a lower leg injury. It was a remarkable run for the Buckeyes to remain undefeated without their biggest star.
McMahon finished with 21 points, eight boards and three helpers and Thierry added 20, nine and three.
The Buckeyes struggled from beyond the arc, going 4-of-25. Mikesell was 2-of-10 and Rikki Harris was 1-of-8. Iowa dominated the boards 51-31 and won despite turning the ball over 17 times and only forcing nine miscues.