As far as college basketball games go, that was pretty special. Oftentimes a much ballyhooed top-10 contest becomes a clunker. That wasn’t the case last night at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The tenth-ranked Hawkeyes (16-4/8-1) knocked off second-ranked Ohio State(19-1/8-1) 83-72 in front of a sold-out crowd. The Hawkeyes are now tied with the Buckeyes for first place in the B1G. Even though she has not won a national player of the year, yet, Caitlin Clark has been the best player in the nation for the last two years. Paige Bueckers is as skilled as Clark, and Aliyah Boston is an incredible two-way player, but Caitlin Clark is changing the game. Last night I saw a picture of Clark signing autographs for kids wearing Ohio State attire. Ohio State sold out the game; the Buckeyes are an excellent team, but many of those fans were in attendance to see Caitlin Clark. They weren’t disappointed. Clark recorded her eighth career triple double. On the night all she did was score 28 points, grab 10 rebounds, and dish out 15 assists. National player of the year.
Iowa’s other star was super-senior post Monika Czinano. Czinano only played 24 minutes as she was in foul trouble, but Monika tallied 22 points on 11 for 13 shooting. Iowa was without the services of McKenna Warnock who was injured in Iowa’s last game. Molly Davis got the start in her place and provided a veteran presence for the Hawks. Davis hit a big three late in the game and ended up with a plus/minus score of +16. Ohio State pressed a great deal of the game, and having another ball-handling guard helped the Hawkeyes beat the press. Here was an excellent example of the Hawkeyes breaking the press and getting a transition three by Clark.
Iowa’s recent surge can be attributed to the play of true freshman Hannah Stuelke. Stuelke played 22 minutes and had eight points and 13 rebounds. Another standout for the Hawkeyes was Kate Martin. Martin is a complete basketball player who provides terrific toughness. Martin finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Iowa and Ohio State do not meet again in the regular season, but it would not surprise me to see the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes facing off in the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes are an athletic team, and their press is effective, but they do not shoot the basketball particularly well. That was again the case last night as OSU was just 4 for 25 from 3 (16%). That was the difference. The other telling statistic was the rebounding margin. Iowa outrebounded the Buckeyes 51 to 31. Game. Set. Match. You would be hard-pressed to beat a top-10 team getting beat on the boards by 20.
Next Up: Nebraska
The Hawkeyes return to Carver Hawkeye Arena this Saturday, January 28th. The game will be at noon and can be seen on Fox. The game is also available on the Hawkeye Radio Network.
Iowa fans may want to scoreboard watch the Ohio State / Indiana matchup this Thursday, January 26th. at 7:30pm CST. The game will be televised on BTN. Ohio State, Indiana, and Iowa all sit at 8-1 in the conference. There are quite a few games to be played, but the Hawkeyes are situated nicely to hopefully repeat as conference champs.
As always, Go Hawks!