NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT: Clark delivers for Iowa and Albany in Sweet 16 win.

Hawkeyes down upset-hungry Colorado to advance to Elite 8 matchup Monday, which happens to be ‘22 Championship rematch.

Caitlin Clark Feeds Stuelke For Buzzer Beater, video below!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gN8Ekl0iD30



The fans were on their feet from when Clark took the floor to warmups until the end of the Hawkeyes’ lopsided 89-68 win, and the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer could feel it.

“I think when I step on the court, like a calming sense comes over me. This is where I’m supposed to be. I have 13 amazing teammates that have my back. These are the moments you’ve worked so hard for, this is what you’ve put the time in for in the gym all by yourself and with your teammates,” Clark said in a postgame press conference.

“I guess it’s just kind of like go let your work shine, go have fun, go have a blast, and win or lose, there’s a lot to hold your head high about. I thought that’s exactly what we did. Everybody kind of played with a smile on their face and had a lot of fun.”

Clark posted 29 points and 15 assists in the win, sinking three triples and making it her fourth double-double in the last five games. She also tied Diana Taurasi for ninth all-time in tournament three-pointers made.

With the win, not only does Iowa get to stick around in Albany to advance to the Elite 8 but they will take on Louisiana State University (LSU) in a rematch of the 2022-23 NCAA National Championship Game.



“Ever since this season started, my focus is like 1-0 every single time we take the court. I think that’s exactly what Coach Bluder preaches. I’m not caught up in the past, not caught up in the future. I try to keep my feet right in the present and be where my feet are, and prepare one game at a time. I don’t think I wouldn’t be able to be the player I am if I was too worried about what has happened or what is going to happen,” Clark said, not reminiscing on the 105-82 loss to the Tigers a year ago.

“Yeah, you can learn from everything, but to be honest, the run we went on last year, it goes so fast, and it kind of is a blur at this point. I almost remember everything in between the basketball games better than the actual basketball games.

“I think the biggest thing to take away from that is everything comes down to one possession. I think that’s what our group learned from that journey is, we played in a lot of really tight close games, and being able to execute down the stretch is really important.”


It took Clark no time to deliver for the fans as on the team’s first, offensive possession, she’d drive for a layup and the team’s first basket of the game. However, the star would take a spell to get going from beyond the arc, starting with four straight misses from range.

But while the three-pointer wasn’t falling early, Clark took to her other talents- passing. The sport’s all-time leading scorer would rack up six assists in the first quarter, including passes to Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin for three-pointers, a Sydney Affolter and-one, and a buzzer-beating layup from Hannah Stuelke.

“I knew they were going to give me really good ball pressure coming into this game, and honestly when we set our first couple of ball screens, they were playing drop coverage. Just kind of their big was just staying in the paint. I knew either Hannah was going to be open on the roll or I was going to be able to get pretty easy lay-ups, and that’s kind of what they went with, more just me off all the screens and giving up drives,” Clark said.

“Luckily I was able – I think I only missed one two-point shot tonight. Obviously, I didn’t shoot it as great from three, but I thought my penetration to the basket was really good.


“I think that also led to quite a few of my assists too because it made them pick and choose exactly what they wanted to do.”

To start the second quarter, Clark would quench the hunger of the starving fans and bury a step-back triple, prompting another lively ovation. It was a sea of black and yellow inside MVP Arena for the game, which wasn’t the surprise head coach Lisa Bluder quite expected.

“Quite honestly, everywhere we go, the average attendance increases a lot because people want to see Caitlin Clark play. So right away, she’s a magnet for fans. Wherever we go, it is the highest crowd that they have all year long, so it doesn’t surprise me at all,” Bluder said.

“What does surprise me is as many Hawk fans that are here because what I had heard before this was announced that it was already sold out and we weren’t going to get many tickets and all that. So to see so much black and gold here, they must have worked really hard to get their tickets. Again, Hawk fans are absolutely incredible.”

Caitlin Clark tracker: Follow the Iowa star's biggest games and highlights in the 2023-24 season | NCAA.com

Affolter (15 points) and Stuelke (11 points) would join Clark in double-figures for the contest, but as would Marshall (14 points; 4-5 3PT) and Kate Martin (14 points), which wasn’t the case in a rock fight win a week ago against West Virginia, to advance to Albany.

“I think you kind of have to pick and choose with our team. Obviously, there’s a lot of attention on Caitlin, and she’s going to get one or two people who have to look at her throughout the whole possession. So I think that leaves other people open,” said Marshall. “I think she does a great job of finding her teammates, finding who’s open, reading the defense before the defense even does what they’re going to do. I think that truly speaks to what we try to do. We pass up good shots for great shots. We really pride ourselves on our assists.”

“We are kind of just hard to guard because you have to pick and choose. If you’re going to stay out on Hannah, the shooters are going to be wide open. And I think that’s kind of what you saw tonight is just a complete basketball game. 20 assists, that’s Iowa basketball for you right there.”

While much of the MVP Arena crowd was in attendance to watch Clark assert her record-setting scoring status, they got to see the full experience.

“When you look around you see a bunch of Hawk fans, a bunch of black and gold. It was loud in there, and I think that’s kind of what we’re used to. We love those environments. We love when it’s wild, crazy, energetic, and we kind of feed off of it, and it gives us momentum,” Marshall added.