Clark’s ‘Off’ Day Is A Triple-Double In Hawkeyes’ Win

By John Bohnenkamp

Caitlin Clark showed her frustration.

The Iowa freshman guard was demonstrative with just about every missed shot in Tuesday’s 92-65 win over Western Illinois at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Clark, who came into the game as the nation’s leading scorer at more than 29 points per game, was 3-of-15 from the field, 1-of-6 in 3-pointers.

“I just accepted,” she said, “it wasn’t my day.”

And yet, it was a historic day.

Clark finished with a triple-double — 13 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

It was the 10th triple-double in program history, the first since Samantha Logic had one in the 2015 NCAA Tournament against Baylor.

“They’re special,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “They don’t happen very often.

“I think she knew she could get it this game. She has high goals and expectations for herself. But champions do. And she fulfilled it.”

Clark, who came into the game shooting 48.6 percent from the field, missed nine of her first 10 shots.

“Caitlin was a bit off today,” Bluder said. 

“Everybody has off nights,” Clark said. “I think it was just that. Nothing specific. It happens.”

But what Bluder appreciated was what Clark was able to do in other parts of the game.

“She found other ways to contribute, which is great” Bluder said.

Clark had five of her assists in the fourth quarter.

“Get other teammates shots, get their confidence going, get them easy buckets for sure, (that) was my mentality in the fourth quarter,” Clark said.

The Hawkeyes (5-1) hadn’t played since the Dec. 12 loss at Michigan State — last Saturday’s game with Ohio State was postponed because of COVID-19 issues within the Buckeyes’ program — and Bluder thought the rust showed.

Western Illinois (1-7) led for 3:44 of the first quarter and was up 16-13 with two minutes to play in the quarter before Clark scored the next five points.

Iowa had six players in double figures. Monika Czinano had a game-high 19 points. Three players — Megan Meyer (13 points), Logan Cook (12) and Sharon Goodman (12) — had career highs.

“That’s what we’re going to need down the road,” Clark said. “We’re going to need people to contribute.”

Bluder was pleased with the play of Goodman. The freshman center also had a season-high nine rebounds.

“I really wanted her to get one more so she could get that (double-double),” Bluder said. “She’s worked so hard all season. She’s just a sponge.”

It was the 40th consecutive home win for the Hawkeyes, the second-longest streak in the nation.

Bluder is giving her players four days off before they have to come back to prepare for the Dec. 31 home game against Rutgers.

“I’m excited for them to have four days off sitting on a win,” she said. “I want them going home feeling good about themselves. And they should.”

Clark is going to use her time off to work on her shooting, she said.

“Yeah, it was frustrating a little bit, because those are shots I make every day,” Clark said. “They’re easy shots I should be making. So that’s a little frustrating. 

“It’s frustrating, but just move on, learn from it, and keep shooting the ball.”

Photo: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark drives to the basket in Iowa’s 92-65 win over Western Illinois. (Stephen Mally/hawkeyesports.com)

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