By John Bohnenkamp
Caitlin Clark and the Iowa women’s basketball team are suddenly must-see TV.
The Hawkeyes’ next five games, starting with Saturday’s game at Northwestern, are going to be on BTN.
The Hawkeyes (8-1 overall, 4-1 Big Ten) have won four consecutive games. They are 6-0 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season, extending the program’s home winning streak to 42 games, second-best in the nation.
Much of Iowa’s success has to do with Clark, the freshman guard who averages 27.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. She has been the Big Ten’s freshman of the week five of the six times the award has been given out this season — the only time she didn’t get it was on a week when the Hawkeyes didn’t play.
Clark, who is second in NCAA Division I play in scoring, is coming off a career-high 37 points in Iowa’s 92-79 win over Minnesota on Wednesday, a game in which the Hawkeyes trailed by as much as 16 points in the first half before they outscored the Gophers 54-31 in the second half.
Clark had 18 points in the second half on 6-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 in 3-pointers.
“Honestly, when you have someone like Caitlin Clark on the floor, you’re never out of the game,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said after the game. “I honestly believe that. You’re never out of a game.”
A look at some of Clark’s numbers this season:
• She has 248 points. The Hawkeyes have 14 regular-season games and at least one Big Ten Tournament game ahead on the schedule. At her current pace, Clark would finish with 662 points, a new program record for freshman, breaking Jaime Printy’s mark of 501.
Megan Gustafson, Iowa’s all-time leader in scoring at 2,804 points, had 352 points in her freshman season. She closed her career with 2,452 points over the last three seasons, 1,824 over the last two.
Ally Disterhoft, second on the program’s all-time list at 2,102 points, had 474 points in her freshman season.
• Clark has 64 rebounds, most on the team. Her average of 7.1 per game is second behind McKenna Warnock’s 7.9 — Warnock has played in one less game.
• She has 30 3-pointers, tying with Johanna Solverson (2002-03) for 10th on the program’s all-time freshman list.
• Clark is also the team leader in field goals (82), free throws made (54) and attempted (63), and assists (43).
“She’s not a one-dimensional kid,” Bluder said. “Not a one-dimensional player, at all.”
Clark was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 list on Wednesday.
“I think it’s a great honor,” Clark said. “We’re only about a fourth of the way through the season, maybe a little more now. There are a lot of games ahead. More than anything, I’m just here to win, win basketball games.”
Photo: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark drives to the basket in Wednesday’s game against Minnesota. (Stephen Mally/hawkeyesports.com)