Two nights in a winter horrorland. Two conference rivals. The same result.
Fresh off a commanding 84-57 victory over what was supposed to be their biggest conference challenge in then-No. 14 Indiana, No. 2 Iowa brought the heat on another bitterly cold—though less than blizzard-like—evening, dispatching visiting Wisconsin in dominating fashion 96-50.
Tuesday night’s game mirrored Saturday’s in the sense that it was low scoring at the outset, with neither side establishing momentum. Iowa led 19-15 after the first quarter. That turned out to be the only similarity, as the Hawkeyes eventually went on a 27-15 run to begin the second quarter—and they never looked back. The Hawkeyes held the Badgers to exactly 20 points in the second half, a testament to their defensive prowess. They forced the Badgers to turnover the ball 28 times, had 17 steals and held leading-scorer Serah Williams, who finished with 19 points, to only four points in the second half.
While Iowa had a slight edge in points in the paint (26-20), second-chance points (13-10), and fastbreak points (10-7), the Hawkeyes overwhelmed the Badgers in points off turnovers (42-14) and bench points (38-4). The latter of which is something that head coach Lisa Bluder takes great pride in. “I really believe this is the strongest bench we ever had,” she said. “I have so much confidence going to our bench. I really do.”
Caitlin Clark had another stellar performance with 32 points, five assists, a team-high seven rebounds and six three pointers. She was perfect from the free throw line, going 10-for-10 and earning trips to the line as the Wisconsin defense tried to neutralize her 3-point shooting. She also reached another milestone, passing Brittney Griner for fourth on the all-time scoring list in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history.
After the game, she gave her pair of Nike Sabrina 1s to a young fan and spoke to the uniqueness of that moment and how she stood out, sharing after the game:
That girl had my jersey on and it was cute. She was copying our stretching warming up. She was doing leg swings when we were doing leg swings. She was super happy to be there and she was sitting courtside. It was amazing to be able to make her day and I’m sure she loved it.
Kate Martin, who was recognized for achieving 1,000 career points against Indiana, was lights out from the 3-point line. She hit four from beyond the arc and ended with 16 points, five rebounds and foir assists. One of those assists happened by accident in the final seconds of the third quarter when she covered her face with her hands to avoid being hit by the ball as she responded late to a pass. Luckily, it found its way into the hands of Syd Affolter for the basket. She provided clarification afterwards. “It didn’t actually hit my face,” she said. “I thought I put my hands up to protect my face, but yes that was wild.”
Speaking of Affolter, she came off the bench and was all over the place. She finished shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from the field, went 5-for-6 from the free throw line and added a 3-pointer to her name for a total of 12 points. Her tenaciousness was evident on the glass as she finished with six rebounds; she also dished out four assists.
Other notable performances came from Addison O’Grady and Kylie Feuerbach. O’Grady came off the bench and helped fill the void left by Hannah Stuelke, who didn’t play after being listed as questionable, in terms of agility and defensive effectiveness. She finished with six points, three assists and a particularly emphatic block on Williams in the first half. Feuerbach was a sharpshooter who finished with six points, both 3-pointers, as she was able to be in the right spot with great movement with and without the ball.
No. 2 Iowa (17-1, 7-0) will take on No. 18 Ohio State (13-3, 4-1) on the road on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 12 p.m. ET (NBC/Peacock).