Iowa and Caitlin Clark overcome shooting struggles to defeat West Virginia and advance to Sweet 16

Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes fell short of their season scoring average by almost 30 points but managed to withstand a late West Virginia rally to secure their spot in the Sweet 16 of the 2024 NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

Clark had an outstanding performance in the game, scoring a game-high 32 points. He made 8 of 22 shots, with 5 of them coming from beyond the arc. His impressive performance helped his team secure a 64-54 victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes, known for their high-scoring offense, struggled to find their rhythm in this game. Despite their impressive season average of 92 points per game, they only managed to convert 36.2% of their shots, making just 17 out of 47 attempts. Their 3-point shooting was particularly off, as they only made 22.7% of their long-range shots, hitting just 5 out of 22 attempts.

“It’s quite unusual,” Clark explained to reporters when questioned about the difficulties. “Such situations can arise from time to time, but it’s crucial to stay determined and discover a means to emerge victorious.”

This team accomplished precisely that.

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In the second quarter, the Hawkeyes struggled to score, managing only six points. Additionally, they only made one field goal in the fourth quarter. Surprisingly, Clark was the sole Hawkeyes player to attempt a 3-point shot.

The Mountaineers offense, however, faced some struggles as well. They were only able to convert 33.9% of their shots, which included a mere 9 out of 34 attempts from beyond the arc.

In terms of rebounding, the Hawkeyes outperformed the Mountaineers with a 42-35 advantage. Additionally, the Hawkeyes had an impressive free throw performance, making 25 out of 30 attempts. On the other hand, the Mountaineers struggled from the foul line, only converting 3 out of 5 attempts.

Sydney Affolter, the junior guard, showcased her skills on the court by contributing 13 points to the Hawkeyes’ overall score. Meanwhile, Hannah Stuelke, the talented sophomore forward, showcased her versatility as she not only scored 12 points but also secured an impressive 11 rebounds.

“We don’t usually deviate from our style, but this time we found a way,” expressed Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder. “I’m incredibly proud of this team for their ability to adapt and discover an alternative approach to winning.”

The Sweet 16 matchup will feature the top-seeded Hawkeyes going up against the No. 5 Colorado Buffaloes. The Buffaloes secured their spot in the next round with an impressive 63-50 victory over the No. 4 Kansas State Wildcats on Sunday.

The team that emerges victorious from this match will go on to face either the LSU Tigers or the UCLA Bruins in the Elite Eight. If both LSU and Iowa win their respective games, it would set up a rematch of last year’s national title game. The Tigers secured their spot in the next round with a commanding 83-56 win over the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders on Sunday.

In a thrilling game held in Los Angeles, the Bruins managed to secure a narrow victory over the No. 7 Creighton Bluejays with a final score of 67-63. It was Sophomore guard Kiki Rice who stole the show, leading the Bruins with an impressive game-high of 24 points. Not to be outdone, Sophomore center Lauren Betts contributed significantly to the team’s success, recording an impressive double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

In the last set of women’s Round of 32 matches, Clark wasn’t the only All-American player who showcased her talent.

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MBS Staff
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