116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — The 3-point arc is deeper, a little.
The Iowa Hawkeyes’ 3-point percentage is down, a lot.
“I didn’t think it would bother us, moving the 3-point line back,” Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder said after another rough long-distance performance Thursday. “But it seems to bother us.
“I don’t know. Maybe we should be shooting more 2-pointers.”
Annually one of the most prolific and most accurate 3-point shooting teams in the nation, the 22nd-ranked Hawkeyes (7-4 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) have suffered from deep this season.
After shooting 40.8 percent from distance in 2020-21, the Hawkeyes are hitting only 29.4 percent this season, a figure that ranks 213th of the nation’s 348 Division-I teams.
They were 6 of 26 in Thursday’s 77-69 loss to Northwestern.
“All we can do is keep working and stay confident in who we are,” said Caitlin Clark, who continued to struggle with her long-range game (1 of 8).
The Hawkeyes look to turn things around Sunday, when they play at Nebraska (13-1, 2-1). Tipoff is 1 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln (FS1).
The NCAA moved the 3-point arc back from 20 feet, 9 inches to 22-1 3/4 this season, to align with both the men’s college game and international basketball.
You wouldn’t think that 16 3/4-inch different would have any impact on Clark, who isn’t afraid to let it fly from anywhere inside 30 feet.
But after shooting 40.3 percent from behind the arc as a freshman, she’s at 24.3 percent (25 of 103) this winter.
To be fair, Clark’s shooting struggles have not been universal. She is hitting 60.7 percent of her shots (65 of 107) inside the arc and is at 90.5 percent (67 of 74) from the free-throw line.
Clark, who is third in the nation in scoring (24.7 ppg), was 13 of 13 at the line Thursday; Iowa was 17 of 17.
The Hawkeyes lead the nation in free-throw shooting, at 85.2 percent.
McKenna Warnock (41.5 percent) and Gabbie Marshall (40.0) remain the team’s most accurate 3-point shooters, but they are down from last year’s rates of 45.1 and 47.1 percent.
Warnock was 4 of 6 from distance Thursday.
Kate Martin is shooting 23.1 percent (down sharply from 35.4). Kylie Feuerbach (from 27.1 percent to 23.6 percent) and Tomi Taiwo (from 40.0 to 38.1) are down a little.
Feuerbach was at Iowa State last season.
Clark, Monika Czinano and Warnock combined for 64 of Iowa’s 69 points against Northwestern.
“We didn’t get much from anybody else,” Bluder said. “You’re easy to guard when you only have two or three scorers.”
Now the focus turns to Nebraska, which Bluder called “the surprise team of the Big Ten.
“They demolished (No. 8) Michigan (79-58, Tuesday). They’re playing very well on their home court.”
Iowa has dropped to a projected No. 8 NCAA seed in the latest bracketology released by ESPN’s Charlie Creme. With 16 games still remaining on the regular-season schedule, there is plenty of time to rise or fall.
“We’ve been the underdog before,” Clark said. “Why not again?”