July 19, 2024

Caitlin Clark’s logo 3-pointer leads Iowa past Michigan St.


Reigning national player of the year Caitlin Clark added to her highlight reel Tuesday night, hitting a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the fringe of Iowa’s half-court logo to secure a 76-73 victory for the host Hawkeyes over the Michigan State Spartans.

After a back-and-forth outing in which both teams led for stretches, and with the tie game’s final seconds ticking away on Iowa’s last possession, Clark drained the 3 and ran to the front row on the court’s far side to celebrate with fans.

A few seconds before, it looked like the Hawkeyes might not get a good last look and overtime was on the horizon. But forward Hannah Stuelke, standing beyond the top of the 3-point arc, passed the ball to Clark, and the guard faked right, took a dribble step-back and then launched the shot with 0.1 seconds remaining.

“We practice those plays every single day in practice,” Clark said in her postgame interview on Peacock. “That’s what we run every single time, get Hannah the ball, let me create with some space. They contested it pretty well, honestly, so lucky it went down.”

The shot earned Clark her 10th 40-point game of her career, breaking a tie with former Missouri State guard Jackie Stiles for the most of any Division I player across the past 25 seasons.

Iowa improved to 14-1 (3-0 in Big Ten), and the Hawkeyes have now won 11 straight, their longest win streak since the 2004-05 season.

Clark also reached 35 points in her fourth consecutive outing, tying Alysha Clark, who played at Belmont and Middle Tennessee, for the longest streak by a Division I player in the past 25 seasons.

The Hawkeyes won despite shooting just 41.8% compared to Michigan State’s 46.3%. Their 10 second-quarter points were their fewest of any period this season, and the Spartans led by as many as six late in the third.

“A close game, they played us really well, you’ve got to give them credit,” Clark continued. “But proud of this group. Things didn’t go our way tonight but just persevered and got through, and you walk away with a win. At the end of the day nobody’s really going to care what the score is as long as it’s a win.”

Clark didn’t have the most efficient night herself, attempting a career-high 34 shots and making just 14 of them. She also missed her first six shots of the second half, before hitting the one that counted most.

“I think I kind of struggled there, got a little hot, got a little cold, especially to start the second half,” she said. “I subbed myself out of the game to get a quick breather. But you just come back, you’ve got to let it go, and you’ve got to respond. I think that’s kind of where I’ve grown the most over the past few years.”

The West Des Moines product and presumptive No. 1 2024 WNBA pick is within reach of breaking the all-time Division I scoring record later this season. She is averaging a nation-best 31.5 points per game, the second most by a D-I player through 15 games of a season over the past 25 years. She trails only former Baylor guard Odyssey Sims, who averaged 31.8 in the same span in 2013-14.

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