Iowa women's basketball: Clark scores 35 more, but Hawkeyes suffer first loss

HawkCentral staff

For the second time in as many games, the Iowa women built an early double-digit deficit. 

The first time, against Iowa State on Wednesday, a dramatic fourth-quarter run and Caitlin Clark's heroics led to a Hawkeyes win. The second time, on Saturday against Michigan State, Lisa Bluder's bunch wasn't as fortunate.

Behind a six-pack of 3-pointers and a team-high 25 points from guard Alyza Winston, the Spartans raced to a 19-point lead in the second quarter before hanging on for an 86-82 triumph over Iowa at the Breslin Events Center in East Lansing, Michigan.

The Spartans (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who never trailed, made five 3-pointers in the first quarter alone, including on their first four attempts of the game. Winston nailed a pair, as did teammate Julia Ayrault (19 points), to put the Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-1) behind the 8-ball from nearly the opening tip. Even though Michigan State only made three the rest of the way, double-figure scoring efforts from guard Nia Clouden (21 points) and Ayrault kept the Spartans in control.

Caitlin Clark continued her scorching start to the season, pouring in 35 points on 11-for-25 shooting. Monika Czinano added 24 on a 10-for-16 day from the floor. The Hawkeyes were stellar from the foul line, making 26 of 28 attempts on the day, but 19 turnovers proved costly in a comeback attempt.

Trailing 44-28 at halftime, Iowa scored 54 points in the second half (27 apiece in the third and fourth quarters). They closed to within two points in the waning seconds after a pair of McKenna Warnock free throws made the score 84-82. But even though Michigan State was just 8-for-14 from the stripe in the fourth quarter, two clutch connections from Clouden with 9 seconds remaining put the game away.

Iowa is next at Ohio State for a Dec. 19 game. Tipoff time is to be determined.