Caitlin Clark pours in career-high 39 points as Hawkeyes topple Nebraska
Needing a win Thursday amid an extended Big Ten skid, Iowa took care of business against Nebraska.
A massive night from Caitlin Clark buoyed the Hawkeyes' methodical attack, as Iowa wore down Nebraska before slamming the door late. That led to an 88-81 Iowa win at Pinnacle Bank Arena, providing a jolt for a Hawkeyes team that had dropped five of their last seven.
Clark was sensational from every angle. The standout freshman from Dowling Catholic poured in 39 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, supplying Iowa (11-6, 7-6 Big Ten Conference) with the necessary juice to avoid Nebraska's home wrath. Clark's scoring output was a new career-high and set the Pinnacle Bank Arena record for points in a game.
The Cornhuskers (9-8, 7-7) had already upset ranked foes Northwestern and Ohio State at home this season. Nebraska did its best to add another in the waning minutes, ripping off a 13-0 run to turn a seemingly comfortable 78-61 Iowa lead into a tight four-point game with two minutes to go. Would the Hawkeyes really let this slip away?
Clark made sure disaster didn't happen. She drained a 40-foot 3-pointer to halt the run and push Iowa back up seven with 78 seconds remaining. The Hawkeyes used the clock to their advantage from there.
"I play my best basketball when I'm more patient and calm, and that's what I did tonight," Clark said. "My shot just felt good tonight. At the end of the game, I kind of knew our offense had become more stagnant, and we needed a big shot. That last 3-pointer, I just kind of pulled up and took it. I knew that I had to.
"I'm still learning and growing. I think tonight was a big improvement for me knowing what shots to take and what shots not to take."
Iowa also got double-digit efforts from Monika Czinano (17 points) and McKenna Warnock (19 points), who tied a conference season-high in scoring. Those efforts offset a monster effort from Sam Haiby, who delivered 26 points while draining three treys.
Neck and neck throughout the first half, Iowa finally found separation midway through the third quarter. Guess who? Clark. She scored five points on Iowa's 10-0 run that gave it its first double-digit lead of the night. Her 14 fourth-quarter points cemented a nice road win.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.