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IOWA CITY — Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was 5-of-20 from the field and 1-of-13 from 3-point distance on Jan. 23, held to half his season average when he scored 13 points against the Utah Jazz.
It happens sometimes even to the great Curry. It happens to everyone who shoots a lot and scores a lot. It happened to Iowa’s Caitlin Clark Monday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena against a Maryland team that, she said, was “obviously pretty glued to me.”
Clark entered this game averaging 37 points and shooting 54.7 percent over her previous four outings. She is the nation’s leading scorer, and her Big Ten average coming in was a ridiculous 29.9 points, something you simply don’t see this deep into a season.
But this night was just plain tough. Clark made just 7 of 25 shots and was 3-of-13 from 3-point range. She had 19 points on a night when her Iowa women’s basketball team needed her to have yet another of her Superwoman performances that had become so commonplace of late.
Iowa fell 81-69 to a typically talented and tough Maryland team. After Clark got about two minutes of highlights on ESPN’s SportsCenter following her Curry-like bomb-making and scoring (46 points) in Iowa’s 96-90 loss at Michigan on Feb. 6, she got two hours to perform on ESPN2 Monday.
This wasn’t a highlight fest. Clark made 10 turnovers, a fact mentioned at least three times with understandable pride during Maryland’s postgame press conference.
Outside of getting all three of her made three 3-pointers in a burst late in the third quarter — capped by a 30-foot bank at the buzzer — Clark wasn’t her five-time 2021-22 Big Ten Player of the Week self.
“Obviously it’s hard when the first three shots rim out,” she said. “I thought I was going to get going there in the third quarter, made a few in a row. Obviously in the fourth quarter I kind of struggled again.
“It didn’t really feel like I had much consistency all night in a lot of areas, but you know, that’s my own fault. So own up to that. I don’t think I got many clean looks, and that’s just how it is when you play the best teams.”
“A great player like Clark had to work,” said Maryland Coach Brenda Frese, who has molded many great ones in her sensational career. She said her team put “a lot of heat and pressure” on Clark.
Even with 2021 first-team All-Big Ten guard Ashley Owusu out with an ankle injury, the Terrapins looked like what a 13th-ranked team looks like. They outshot their hosts, and out-rebounded them, 47-31.
Maryland is the Big Ten’s flagship program, one that has won six regular-season league titles and is 120-16 in conference play since coming from the ACC in 2014. You have to be at your best to beat the Terps.
Iowa wasn’t at its best this night. Clark wasn’t at her best.
“Who gives a damn about excuses?” Curry said after that miserable shooting game against Utah. “You either make shots or miss shots. I got to start making some shots.”
Two games later, he was 6-of-10 from 3-point. Two games after that, he made seven 3s and scored 40 points. He was 8-of-13 from deep Monday night in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. He is Steph Curry, after all.
ESPN2 will be back here Feb. 27 for the Michigan-Iowa game. Iowa’s Superwoman probably will light it up that day. She is Caitlin Clark, after all.
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