Clark’s March Madness Continues, Iowa Women Beat Colorado

SEATTLE (AP) — Caitlin Clark felt it was all going a little too fast and on the stage of a regional semifinal, the Iowa star had to slow down for a change.

“I felt like I was playing a bit frantically. I felt like I was rushed on offense,” Clark said.

In this case, the downturn led to a big second half from Clark and the Hawkeyes.

Clark scored 31 points, 18 in the second half, and No. 2 seed Iowa shook off the disappointments of the past two seasons and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Tournament with a victory of 87-77 over Colorado in the Seattle Regional 4 semifinals on Friday. night.

After two straight tournaments where Clark’s season ended in the Round of 16 and Round of 16, the Hawkeyes will play for a chance at only second place in the Final Four in school history on Sunday.

“Anytime you play basketball for that long, it’s really special. None of us want it to end,” said Monika Czinano of Iowa.

Clark was the catalyst for Iowa’s big second half, and the first-team All-American finished 11 of 22 shooting with four 3-pointers and eight assists. It was his 11th game this season with at least 30 points.

But she had a lot of help, especially after Clark spent much of the first half after picking up two fouls.

Czinano added 15 points, including a key basket in the paint with 1:10 remaining. Kate Martin scored 16 and McKenna Warnock scored 10. Iowa shot 54% for the game and 59% in the second half.

“We shot the ball really well tonight and I’m proud of it because of Colorado’s defense,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “We scored more points than anyone else all year against his defense. Their defense is very good, but we still managed to shoot more than 50% from the field. But you do this when you have four people’s balance in the double digits.

Iowa (29-6) will face No. 5 seed Louisville in the regional final on Sunday. This is the fifth Elite Eight appearance for the Hawkeyes, but their only Final Four appearance was in 1993.

Frida Formann led Colorado (25-9) with 21 points, but 19 of them came in the first half when her shot carried the Buffaloes. But Formann was stopped in the second half and fouled with 6:37 remaining.

“I had a lot of space in the first half and my teammates had just found me. At this point, my job is to throw the ball, so that’s what I’m going to do,” said Formann. “And then they adjusted defensively and we’re a little tighter.”

Colorado shot within 76-70 on Quay Miller’s 3-pointer with 4:16 to go and the deficit was down to 78-74 after Jaylyn Sherrod’s steal and layup with 1:40 to go. But it was the Buffaloes’ final push as Czinano scored in the paint and Iowa had seven free throws in the final minute.

Aaronette Vonleh added 13 points and Miller had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Buffs.

“To be behind by double digits against Iowa and to be able to defend and keep going and never wilt, never put your head down and keep playing, staying the course was awesome,” the Colorado coach said, JR Payne.


Colorado lingered much longer than expected, but it was Iowa’s run early in the third quarter and played by Clark that finally gave the Hawkeyes a cushion.

Clark started an 11-point streak for the Hawkeyes with a driving field goal, added a 3-pointer on a loose ball and followed up with a steal and layup that gave Iowa a 10-point lead. 54-42 and forced Payne to burn two timeouts in 2 minutes.

Iowa eventually pushed the lead to 62-47 and Colorado could never catch up in the final 15 minutes, leaving Clark and his team to celebrate in front of the large contingent of Iowa fans leaving the field. .

“I guess it was kind of our crowd. It felt like there were a lot of Hawk fans. I don’t know if they’ve traveled from the state of Iowa, Midwest and if they have, we really appreciate that. And if you’re from here, we appreciate you coming too,” Clark said.


AP March Madness coverage: and and /AP_Top25


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