Caitlin Clark, McKenna Warnock lead Iowa women's basketball win against Central Florida

Register staff report

IOWA CITY — The Iowa women’s basketball team used a strong third quarter to surge past Central Florida for a 69-61 home win Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes outscored the Knights, 25-12, after going to the halftime locker room in a 31-31 deadlock before 6,236 fans.

“It’s a tie game (and) we come out in the third quarter and go up 13,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said in her postgame radio interview. “That was very nice to see. This team just regroups at halftime.”

McKenna Warnock, right, had a strong stat line of 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists vs. UCF.

All-American guard Caitlin Clark’s robust stat line led the Hawkeyes, who won just their second game since Nov. 17, thanks in part to a long program COVID-19 pause. No. 15-ranked Iowa hadn’t played a game, period, since a 77-70 loss at Iowa State on Dec. 8. Clark had 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. She shot 5-for-18 from the floor but drew 10 fouls and shot 8-of-11 from the line.

“Our team was so ready to play after being off for so long and having finals,” said Bluder, who won her 801th career game as a head coach. “This is a really good UCF team (8-3). Tennessee scored only 49 points against them.”

McKenna Warnock was terrific, registering 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Monika Czinano added 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting for Iowa (7-2), which will host IUPUI at 2 p.m. Tuesday.