It’s a strange thing to be a “writer” and feel like I don’t have the words to do yesterday’s basketball game justice. So, let’s just throw a video in here to start. Not like you haven’t watched this clip ten times.
That was an epic game for Iowa basketball, B1G basketball, and women’s basketball. What a day! To start out, ESPN’s game day was on campus. We were introduced to one of the greatest warrior’s, Harper Stribe, you would ever want to meet. The room got very dusty for me during that segment.
Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes took down the 2nd-ranked Indiana Hoosiers (26-2) by a score of 86-85. The game had everything. Two of the best players in women’s college basketball in Clark and Mackenzie Holmes. These two get most of the publicity, but both teams have tremendous players. Two excellent coaches in Lisa Bluder and Teri Moren. Two fantastic teams with a combined record of 49-8.
It was a back-and-forth affair, the Hawkeyes led 40-39 at halftime. The Hoosiers had the lead when the horn sounded... however, the ball was intent on finding its mark and making the Hawks winners as it rattled through the rim. Game. Set. Match. Whew.
Statistically it was a very tight ballgame as well. The Hoosiers shot better from the free throw line; the Hawks were better from three. Indiana won the rebounding battle 36-28. The assists, steals, turnovers, and fouls were almost identical. There were terrible fouls called and missed for both teams; fans of both men’s and women’s B1G basketball have grown accustomed to the inconsistency. In the end, Holmes and Clark both made plays. Luckily the Hawkeyes had the last possession. What’s that? You’d like to see “The Shot” in slow motion? I got you.
For the Hoosiers Mackenzie Holmes finished with 21 points. Chloe Moore-McNeil had 18 and did an admirable job defending Clark. Sydney Parrish also had 18 and Grace Berger had 16. The Hoosiers are a well-coached, talented squad.
For the Hawkeyes Caitlin Clark had 34 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. Another day at the office for the National Player of the Year. Kate Martin had 19. I LOVED that Harper Stribe’s favorite player is Martin. Martin does so many things to help her team win. Monika Czinano finished with 13 and 9. McKenna Warnock and Gabbie Marshall both tallied 8 points each. Czinano and Warnock both deserve a shoutout for playing their last regular-season game at Carver Hawkeye Arena.
Here is the B1G Tournament Bracket:
The Hawkeyes are the 2 seed (Indiana deservedly got the 1) and first play in Minneapolis Friday, March 3rd against the winner of Wisconsin (10 seed) or Purdue (7 seed) at approximately 5:30pm. The Hawkeyes faced the Badgers twice this year (both blowouts) and Purdue once (a 15 point win). It will be a challenge for Coach Bluder to refocus the squad after such a thrilling victory. The Hawkeyes won the B1G tourney last year, and it will be a tremendous opportunity for the Hawks to improve their NCAA seeding. An Indiana/Iowa matchup in the B1G championship could be epic, but both teams will have to play well to get there. The Big Ten has some excellent players, coaches, and teams. Both the Hawks and Hoosiers will get maximum effort out of their opponents. Also, there is so much familiarity in playing conference opponents. The big thing with tournament settings is the quick turnaround. The Hawkeyes received a double bye so physically they should be fairly fresh.
Let’s cut down some nets for Harper over the next few weeks. As always, Go Hawks!