Iowa women's basketball: No. 11 Hawkeyes surge past Northern Iowa for first road win

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central
Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder reacts during a NCAA non-conference women's basketball game against Samford, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

For all the buzz and hype that surround in-state matchups, the Hawkeyes quickly removed any suspense from Sunday's showdown in Cedar Falls. 

No. 11 Iowa surged ahead with a strong first quarter, then held strong defensively for an 82-61 win over Northern Iowa at McLeod Center. It was a nice first road test the Hawkeyes (3-0) passed with relative ease.  

The turning point in this one came via Iowa's 15-0 first-quarter run, which transformed a modest 9-6 lead into a robust 24-6 advantage. Perhaps most impressive was that the momentum-snatching surge came with Caitlin Clark contributing only four points. 

Iowa's lead never dipped below 13 points the rest of the way. 

Clark didn't have the strongest shooting afternoon — 9-for-22 from the field and 4-for-13 from deep — yet she still filled up the stat sheet in nearly securing a triple double. Clark finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, delivering a few parting shots of emotion as the final minutes ticked away. There's no lack of intensity when these two meet.

Clark had plenty of reinforcements. Monika Czinano poured in 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. McKenna Warnock added 15, while Gabbie Marshall and Kylie Feuerbach contributed eight apiece. It was an offensive effort that, in a rare move, took a back seat to Iowa's defensive prowess.         

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) is fouled while driving to the hoop by Northern Iowa guard Emerson Green (4) during Sunday's game in Cedar Falls.

The Hawkeyes held UNI (1-1) to 32% from the field and 28% from deep (8-for-29), all while forcing 19 Panther turnovers. Tanya Warren's squad got 17 points from Kam Finley and 14 via Maya McDermott but was not able to string a legitimate run together.   

The only minor push UNI made was at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth. A McDermott trey had the Panthers within 13 as the final quarter began, and two Grace Boffeli free throws a minute later kept the deficit the same. There was no significant push after that.   

Iowa entered this one as a sizable favorite and performed as such. But this performance, buoyed by defensive stability, further showcased Iowa's growth as a top-10 squad. Winning on the road, even if it's just up the road, is still noteworthy as the Hawkeyes adjust to life in the spotlight.

Iowa hosts Southern on Wednesday.   

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 msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.