No. 9 Iowa women's basketball survives grueling affair at Michigan State with OT win

Dargan Southard
Des Moines Register

Another trip to the Breslin Center, another slog for the Iowa women’s basketball team.

The No. 9 Hawkeyes got all they could handle and then some from a Michigan State squad playing above its pedestrian ledger. But Iowa survived for an 84-81 win Wednesday night, marking the Hawkeyes’ first win at Michigan State since Feb. 1, 2018. Iowa (15-4, 7-1 Big Ten Conference) entered this game having dropped 10 of its last 12 trips there.

This one certainly didn’t come easy.

Start with the final 20 seconds.

Owning an 82-79 advantage after an airballed Michigan State trey with five seconds remaining, Iowa had secured the rebound and looked ready to close things out. Despite being down two starters, all the Hawkeyes had to do was inbound the ball and hit one of two free throws to wrap things up.

Except while waiting for the inbounds, back-and-forth contact between Caitlin Clark and Michigan State’s Kamaria McDaniel eventually led to a lengthy review and an intentional foul on Clark. McDaniel sunk two free throws and the Spartans got the ball back on the intentional foul, suddenly with a chance to steal one.

McDaniel, though, traveled on the ensuing possession, forcing Michigan State (10-9, 2-6) to foul with just two seconds remaining. Molly Davis sunk two free throws to put Iowa up three. A halfcourt heave clanked off as those in gold finally relaxed.

Clark finished with 26 points on 6-for-19 shooting, including 2-for-10 from deep. But she finished 12-for-14 at the line and flirted with another triple-double, racking up 11 assists and nine rebounds.

“You can’t control what the officials call,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said on the postgame radio show. “You can’t control that. So you have to learn to control the controllables, and that’s your effort and your attitude.”

Michigan State's Kamaria McDaniel, right, and Iowa's Molly Davis get tangled up, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in East Lansing.

Clark scored half of Iowa’s overtime points and navigated through the extra period without Monika Czinano and McKenna Warnock. Czinano fouled out with 2:08 remaining in regulation after going 11-for-11 from the field for 22 points, while Warnock didn’t return after the second half’s opening minute following a hard collision on a Michigan State screen.

Warnock eventually returned to the bench, but Iowa radio play-by-play announcer Rob Brooks said Warnock was limping gingerly anytime she got up.   

That led to extended action for Hannah Stuelke, who finished with seven points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes. Stuelke’s basket-and-free throw pulled Iowa within one with 2:16 left and was one of the Hawkeyes’ two overtime field goals. Clark took over from there with the next six — four free throws and a nice jumper that handed Iowa a 80-79 lead with 31 seconds left — before the chaos ensued.

Iowa was just happy to get out alive. Now comes another high-profile chance, Monday at No. 2 Ohio State.  

Dargan Southard is a sports trending reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and Follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.