Iowa women's basketball survives chaotic night at Northwestern with overtime win
A hectic night at Northwestern ended with the Iowa women's basketball team surviving the Wildcats' "Blizzard" defense, a clock malfunction and a lackluster offensive performance en route to a needed road win.
No. 24 Iowa escaped Welsh Ryan Arena with a 72-67 overtime win Friday in Evanston, Ill., cementing the Hawkeyes' seventh straight win since falling to the Wildcats on Jan. 6. Iowa again had offensive issues like the first game, but the Hawkeyes (14-4, 8-1 Big Ten Conference) found enough juice late to write a different ending.
Caitlin Clark's top-of-the-key 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining in the extra period gave Iowa the lead for good, and allowed the Hawkeyes to hold off Northwestern with free throws down the stretch. Clark and Monika Czinano, who combined for 52 of Iowa's 72 points, hit six free throws in the final 21 seconds to ice it.
Getting to overtime, though, was an adventure.
After trailing by 14 points in the second half, the Hawkeyes clawed back. Iowa held a 61-57 advantage with 1:52 remaining, only to go scoreless for the rest of regulation. Melannie Daley's jumper with 33 seconds left tied it at 61-61.
Chaos ensued shortly thereafter. After Iowa missed a chance to move ahead, Northwestern (11-8, 3-5) grabbed the defensive rebound with 3.9 seconds remaining and surged downcourt for a potential game winner. Only the clock didn't start until the Wildcats' transition offense was well past half court.
Laya Hartman's layup arrived with time still on the clock, generating immediate jubilation from the Northwestern bench and Wildcats crowd. The clock error, however, was soon realized by officials. Following a lengthy review that required the referees to hand-time the actual time elapsed, the game was sent to overtime. On the BTN+ broadcast, a separate clock that counted down alongside the action revealed it took Northwestern close to five seconds to go the length of the floor and score.
Clark and Czinano scored all 11 of Iowa's overtime points as the Hawkeyes turned to their stars with the offense out of sorts. Iowa finished 6-for-18 from deep and didn't score more than 20 points in a quarter until the fourth. An 18-for-20 performance at the line helped generate enough points to offset Veronica Burton's 19-point outing.
Earlier in the week, as Iowa continued its slog through a four-games-in-nine-days stretch, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder expressed concern over the short prep time for Northwestern. The Wildcats' defense is funky and difficult, and that showed again Friday.
But credit the Hawkeyes for finding a survival route. They'll try to make it eight straight Monday versus Ohio State.
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.