Home » No. 2 Iowa women’s basketball rebounds with big win over Drake

No. 2 Iowa women’s basketball rebounds with big win over Drake


IOWA CITY — For as out of place as Thursday’s Iowa women’s basketball performance was, Sunday’s follow-up effort firmly put the Hawkeyes’ potent product back on the floor.

No. 2 Iowa barreled out of the gates against Drake with the most first-half points in program history, leaning on that momentum to create a balanced scoring effort that eased any lingering concerns from the Kansas State dud. The final scoreboard reading was a 113-90 Iowa victory that sends the Hawkeyes (4-1) into Thanksgiving week on a solid note.

“Coach (Lisa) Bluder challenged us when we came to practice after the K-State loss,” said Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark, who had 35 points, 10 assists, seven steals and six rebounds in 30 minutes. “I thought everyone responded really well.”

It was fair to wonder whether Iowa’s 58-point effort against the Wildcats signaled a significant stumble, given how unusual it is for the Hawkeyes to experience any sort of offensive problems. Clark and company emphasized Sunday how much of an anomaly that showing truly was.

Thursday’s lasting scene was Clark running around searching for help. She received plenty of it against the Bulldogs, while also herself becoming the NCAA’s career leader in 30-point games (39).

Headlining the contributing list was senior Kate Martin, who poured in a career-high 25 points after going scoreless against the Wildcats. She splashed home 10 of 12 shots while draining three treys, her first downtown connections following eight straight misses to begin the year. Although it had been a seesawing beginning to Martin’s final collegiate campaign, she looked like the veteran piece Iowa needs on Sunday.

“All week, my teammates have been building me up. Coach Bluder, all the coaches have been building me up,” Martin said. “It’s not fun to not make a three in the first three or four games, but really, it was just confidence. I’m just glad I could step up tonight and knock them down.”

Elsewhere, Molly Davis picked up her third start in five games and responded well with 10 points in 27 minutes while draining a pair of treys. And 15 points from Sharon Goodman provided a pivotal lift with Hannah Stuelke playing just 13 minutes while dealing with a minor knee issue.

“She just has a little bit of a knee (injury) that’s bothering her a little bit, not bad,” Bluder said. “But we felt like with the way Drake runs around, you really have to work on defense. With four games in eight days this week, if we could give Hannah some rest, this was an opportunity to do so.”

Iowa first hit the gas with a 12-0 surge to end the first half, which transformed a modest 11-point advantage into a comfortable 64-41 halftime cushion. Two Taylor McCabe treys arrived during that run on assists from Clark, offering up a microcosm of the offensive balance the Hawkeyes desperately needed. Iowa’s second-half lead rarely dipped below 20.

Drake had moments of success Sunday but couldn’t match the Hawkeyes’ firepower. Grace Berg led the Bulldogs with 19 points and got double-digit assistance from Katie Dinnebier (15), Anna Miller (15), Courtney Becker (10) and Taylor McAulay (10).

“I think there’s big things ahead for this Bulldogs squad,” Drake coach Allison Pohlman said. “We put our best foot forward. We adjusted as the game went on. I still feel like it’s a great day to be a Drake Bulldog.”

Iowa travels to Estero, Fla., to play IPFW on Friday in the Gulf Coast Showcase, followed by Saturday and Sunday games in the same event. Drake now readies for its own Thanksgiving-week action at home against Louisiana Tech (Friday), Richmond (Saturday) and Maine (Sunday).

Iowa needed this rebound victory in the worst way. The Hawkeyes got it with ease.

“People want to beat you,” Clark said. “You’re the Iowa Hawkeyes. You were in the Final Four last year. You have a target on your back, but this group just worries about what’s in our locker room. We knew Thursday wasn’t who we are.

“Tonight, we got back to who we are.”

Dargan Southard is a sports trending reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.