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This one lives up to the hype, and then some: Iowa 86, Indiana 85
Caitlin Clark nails a 3-pointer at the buzzer to edge the No. 2 Hoosiers
IOWA CITY — In each of the first three quarters, Caitlin Clark was an effective closer.
At the end of the game, an outright hero.
Clark rattled home an off-balance 3-pointer as time expired, lifting sixth-ranked Iowa to an 86-85 “instant classic” Big Ten women’s basketball win over No. 2 Indiana before a sellout crowd of 15,056 Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I’ve shot a lot of those, whether it was with my two brothers in the driveway, a lot by myself,” Clark said.
“I’m lucky enough to have done it for my team, in front of 15,000 people who wanted to scream about it.”
Clark enhanced her status of national-player-of-the-year favorite with 34 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. She reached legend status here long ago, but this was the signature moment of signature moments.
The Hawkeyes (23-6 overall, 15-3 Big Ten) faced a two-point deficit with 1.5 seconds left after Indiana’s Mackenzie Holmes hit a pair of free throws.
In the women’s college game, the ball can be advanced beyond halfcourt after a timeout. Monika Czinano’s pick sprung Clark open as Kate Martin inbounded from the right sideline. Clark gathered, let fly, and nailed it.
Clark sprinted along the baseline with her teammates in hot pursuit.
“I ran into the crowd and my teammates tackled me,” she said.
McKenna Warnock added: “She’s fast. We couldn’t catch her.”
And thus ended a bona fide back-and-forth thriller. If you argue this as the most exciting women’s basketball game event at Carver, that’s a valid stance.
“Obviously, just an unbelievable game,” a hoarse Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said afterward. “Just an unbelievable environment, and the good guys won at the end.”
With the win, Iowa secured the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament this week in Minneapolis. The Hawkeyes will face 7-seed Purdue or 10-seed Wisconsin in a quarterfinal at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Indiana (26-2, 16-2) wrapped up the outright Big Ten title Tuesday, and is a worthy and deserved champion. But the Hoosiers were “a sad group in the locker room” afterward, according to IU Coach Tori Moren.
“I’m disappointed, they’re disappointed.”
Iowa held a 76-70 lead when Molly Davis converted a steal into a layup with 4:34 to go, but the Hoosiers knotted the game at 79-79, 81-81 and 83-83.
Czinano missed a short jumper with 4.6 seconds left, and the Hoosiers called timeout. Then, Czinano was called for a foul on Holmes in the paint.
Originally, the clock showed 0:00.8, then after replay, was restored to 0:01.5. Holmes hit both free throws.
“At 8-tenths of a second, we would have considered missing (the second free throw),” Moren said. “But with 1.5, we felt there was too much time.”
Turns out, 1.5 was plenty of time for Clark.
She was an end-of-quarter wizard all game. She scored on a drive at the end of the first quarter, hit a basket with 5 seconds left in the second, swished two free throws with 3 seconds left in the third.
“I know this team is going to turn to me in those situations,” Clark said. “I’m not going to shy away from that. I’ve been in plenty of those situations. Not all of them went my way.”
This one did.
It deserves more than a footnote, but Kate Martin added 19 points for the Hawkeyes, her second-highest total of the season. Czinano — who, along with Warnock, played in her final regular-season home game — posted 13 points and nine rebounds.
Four Indiana players reached double figures, led by Holmes’ 21 points. Chloe Moore-McNeil and Sydney Parrish scored 18 apiece, Grace Berger 16.
Iowa 86, Indiana 85
At Iowa City
INDIANA (85): Mackenzie Holmes 8-10 5-6 21, Yarden Garzon 1-6 4-4 7, Chloe Moore McNeil 6-12 4-4 18, Sydney Parrish 6-12 3-3 18, Grace Berger 8-15 0-0 16, Sara Scalia 2-8 0-0 5, Lilly Meister 0-0 0-0 0, Henna Sandvik 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-63 16-17 85.
IOWA (86): McKenna Warnock 3-7 0-0 8, Monika Czinano 4-8 5-5 13, Kate Martin 6-9 4-5 19, Caitlin Clark 12-22 6-8 34, Gabbie Marshall 3-5 0-0 8, Molly Davis 1-3 0-0 2, Hannah Stuelke 1-2 0-2 2, Sydney Affolter 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 30-58 15-20 86.
Indiana 18 21 19 27 — 85
Iowa 23 17 21 25 — 86
3-point goals: Indiana 7-24 (Garzon 1-5, Moore-McNeil 2-5, Parrish 3-7, Berger 0-2, Scalia 1-5), Iowa 11-28 (Warnock 2-5, Warnock 3-4, Clark 4-12, Marshall 2-4, Davis 0-1, Affolter 0-2). Team fouls: Indiana 16, Iowa 17. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Indiana 36 (Garzon 14), Iowa 28 (Czinano, Clark 9). Assists: Indiana 17 (Berger 8), Iowa 18 (Clark 9). Steals: Indiana 6 (Garzon 3), Iowa 5 (five with 1). Turnovers: Indiana 8, Indiana 7.