Iowa women's basketball: Hawkeyes find 3-point footing in road win over Nebraska
Hello, 3-point shooting. Welcome back! The Iowa women's basketball team is glad you've returned.
Amid a dismal downtown stretch that had the Hawkeyes' potent offense out of sorts, Iowa found its outside touch in enemy territory of all places. A raucous Pinnacle Bank Arena crowd did little to slow Iowa's attack — and most importantly, its 3-point shooting — as the No. 22 Hawkeyes controlled Sunday's 95-86 win over Nebraska essentially from start to finish.
Coming off Thursday's stumble to Northwestern, which was Iowa's second home loss in three games, Lisa Bluder's squad had to regain its cemented identity. The Hawkeyes (8-4, 2-1 Big Ten Conference) hadn't shot better than 36% from deep in any of their first 11 games, reaching double-digit treys only once.
Not the numbers you want when offense tops the agenda.
Numbers like these are much better.
The Hawkeyes made swishes at nearly a 60% clip from deep (11-for-19), setting a season high with four players connecting. Who benefited most? That'd be McKenna Warnock, who went 7-for-9 from three en route to a career-best 23 points. She hit more treys than Iowa did in four other games this season, including the Northwestern loss.
They came in timely waves, too.
After Nebraska (13-2, 2-2) grabbed its first (and only) lead at 79-78 with 6:41 remaining, Kate Martin countered right back to give Iowa a lead it never relinquished. Warnock hit her final trey of the day two minutes later to hand the Hawkeyes an 86-81 advantage. Enough cushion was there to offset any late Husker push.
Offensive productivity arrived from its usual spots as well. Having set the arena scoring record in her last Nebraska visit, Caitlin Clark delivered a strong encore with 31 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. Only one of six downtown attempts fell, but Clark routinely weaved through the Husker defense with zero resistance. If it wasn't a layup, it was a foul — and Clark drained eight of nine at the line.
Monika Czinano added 20 points on 10-for-14 shooting as a mismatch weapon down low. Martin (12 points) didn't miss a shot either. And the 15 Iowa turnovers may sound bad out loud, but that's a more digestible number for Bluder than anything pushing 20. Especially with 22 assists to go with.
Iowa constructed double-digit leads in the first and second quarters before Nebraska finally dug in for a seesawing third. The Hawkeyes then closed much better than they have in recent games. A road win over a surging Nebraska squad is the most that can be maximized from this early January affair.
Iowa returns to action Thursday at Purdue.
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.