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Iowa update: No. 4 Hawkeyes get over the hump against No. 14 Kansas State at the Gulf Coast Showcase

At the Gulf Coast Showcase, the Hawkeyes did what they do best as they finally conquered an old foe. Iowa bettered Kansas State to capture the tournament title.

Syndication: The Des Moines Register
Caitlin Clark celebrates draining one of her seven 3s during Iowa’s revenge victory over Kansas State at the Gulf Coast Showcase.
Jonah Hinebaugh/Naples Daily News/USA Today Network-Florida / USA TODAY NETWORK

The No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes (7-1) cleaned house in the Sunshine State of as they captured the Gulf Coast Showcase championship over the Thanksgiving holiday. On Sunday, they defeated No. 14 Kansas State 77-70 in the tournament’s title game, avenging three-consecutive losses to the Wildcats, the most recent of which came on Nov. 16.

It also marks the first regular-season tournament win for the Hawkeyes since the 2017-18 season.

It was during that game on the 16th that the Hawkeyes looked lethargic and simply didn’t play their game. The defeat also sparked feelings among some that all the hype surrounding them was just that—hype.

But on Sunday, the Hawkeyes proved doubters wrong once again—not simply by playing their game but playing by it with a burst of energy.

When comparing the loss to Kansas State and Sunday’s win over the Wildcats, two factors proved consequential. Not only did Caitlin Clark shoot significantly better from the 3-point line—improving from 2-for-16 and 12.5 percent to 7-for-16 and 43.8 percent—to finish with 32 points along with six assists and five rebounds, but also, in contrast to the contest 10 days prior, she wasn’t alone.

Molly Davis was a significant factor, finishing with 13 points, four assists, and four rebounds as she earned all-tournament honors. Kate Martin recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sharon Goodman shot 66 percent from the field as she scored eight points and grabbed six boards.

Some additional stats include Gabbie Marshall adding a 3-pointer, Addison O’Grady scoring six points off the bench and Sydney Affolter grabbing three rebounds. Even though the Hawkeyes were statistically comparable to the Wildcats, including shooting 42.2 percent from the field to K-State’s 50 percent shooting, the victory was proof that, when everyone steps up, Iowa will get the result they are looking for.

Hannah Stuelke was absent due to an ankle injury she sustained last Friday against Purdue Fort Wayne and her future status remains unknown. Given that, it is incumbent upon the Hawkeyes to utilize their improved depth to carry them through. Sunday provided a promising glimpse.

With the three-game tournament sweep, Iowa bumped up to No. 4 in this week’s AP rankings, freeing themselves from the burden of Kansas State on the cusp of conference play. In essence, they got the Wildcat off their back.

No. 4 Iowa (7-1) will be back home to take on Bowling Green (4-1) on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is set for 12:30 p.m. CT.