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College basketball: Indiana quells Caitlin Clark, blows out Iowa

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark still can break several scoring records this season. Photo by Brian Ray/HawkeyeSports.com
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark still can break several scoring records this season. Photo by Brian Ray/HawkeyeSports.com

Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Indiana's physical defense held Caitlin Clark to 24 points and allowed the Iowa Hawkeyes to make just 17.9% of their 3-pointers in a blowout victory in Bloomington, Ind.

Clark made just 8 of 26 shots, including 3 of 16 3-pointers in the 86-69 setback Thursday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. She also logged 10 rebounds and nine assists, but totaled five turnovers.

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"You've gotta give credit to our girls because we just fought," Clark told reporters. "But they always responded and had an answer."

Senior guard Sara Scalia scored a game-high 25 points for the No. 14 Hoosiers. Senior forward Mackenzie Holmes chipped in 24 points and nine rebounds.

The No. 4 Hawkeyes led in several major categories, including points in the paint (40-34) and points off fast breaks (25-12), but were outscored 13-5 in second-chance points. They used their overwhelming defense to throttle the Hawkeyes' rhythm and build momentum on their home court.

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"They were just tenacious," Clark said of the Hoosiers defense. "Obviously, it helps when there are 17,000 people screaming for you. That never kills anybody. It's something we're obviously capable of and something we've done all season long.

"There is nothing for us to hang our heads about. We'll just go back and learn and move on. You can't really sulk about one loss. That's not really how this works."

The Hoosiers also outshot the Hawkeyes 51.6% to 38.8% from the floor and buried 42.9% of their 3-point attempts. They held the lead for 33:22 of the game's 40 minutes.

"They played a great game," Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder said. "They had a great game plan. It frustrated Caitlin at times. We didn't have an answer for Sara Scalia. ... We just didn't play very well, but I want to give all the credit to Indiana."

Clark, who set the NCAA record for the most points by a women's college basketball player on Feb. 15, is still in reach of several major marks, despite being held well below her season's per-game points average (32.4).

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Her 3,593 career points are just 66 behind former Kansas star Lynette Woodard, who scored the most points in women's college basketball history. That record predated the NCAA's sponsorship of women's sports.

Clark also needs just 75 points to pass the total posted by LSU legend Pete Maravich (3,667). Maravich holds the record for the most career points in men's or women's college basketball.

The Hawkeyes have three regular-season games remaining. Clark would pass Maravich and Woodard in the season finale March 3 against Ohio State, if she scores her average point total in each game down the stretch. She could pass them Wednesday against Minnesota if she surpasses that average over her next two games.

Clark, the presumed No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, was asked about her future at her postgame news conference, but refused to look beyond the college basketball season. The Indiana Fever own the No. 1 overall pick.

"Honestly, I'm just focused on this team right now," Clark said. "I'm playing my heart out for Iowa and getting to represent my state every single day. That's what it's all about. I'm not really too worried about the future."

The On3.com database projects Clark's annual value -- from name, image and likeness deals at nearly $1 million. Clark is a senior, but could return for a fifth year because she started her college career during the COVID-19-impacted 2020-21 season.

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No WNBA players earned more than $235,000 in salary during the 2023 season.

The Hawkeyes (23-4) will host Illinois in their next game at 1 p.m. EST Sunday in Iowa City. That game will air on FS1. The Illini (13-12) upset the Hoosiers 86-66 on Monday in Champaign, Ill.

The Hoosiers (22-4) will battle Northwestern (8-18) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Evanston, Ill.

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