IOWA 92, DARTMOUTH 54: Clark Tops The 2,000-Point Mark

By JOHN BOHNENKAMP

IOWA CITY — You don’t often get a standing ovation for a timeout.

Caitlin Clark had just recorded her ninth point of the game in Iowa’s 92-54 win over Dartmouth on Wednesday when coach Lisa Bluder called a timeout.

Seven minutes, 27 seconds remained in the second quarter, and the Hawkeyes were leading 45-22.

But this wasn’t a timeout to discuss strategy, and when Clark heard the cheers and saw the crowd standing to applaud, she knew what it was all about.

Clark had become the fourth player in program history to top the 2,000-point mark for her career, and Bluder wanted to make sure she could enjoy the moment.

“It’s such a special accomplishment,” Bluder said. “You know, if we’re playing Maryland, maybe I wouldn’t have. But I felt like this was a game where we could burn a timeout and celebrate someone who ought to be celebrated.”

“I really wasn’t expecting Coach Bluder to call a timeout,” Clark said. “So I kind of choked up a little bit.”

Clark reached the 2,000-point mark in her 75th game, tying Elena Delle Donne for the fastest in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach the milestone.

“It’s pretty crazy to think about,” Clark said. “Obviously it wouldn’t be possible without my teammates.”

Clark, a junior, scored 20 points in the game and now has 2,013 for her career, 47 behind Cindy Haugejorde for third place on the program’s all-time scoring list. She should pass Ally Disterhoft (2,102) for second place later this season and then can chase Megan Gustafson (2,804) this season and next season to become the all-time leader.

“It’s quite amazing when you think about 2,000 points and she’s not even halfway into her junior year,” Bluder said.

“It’s kind of being cool to be in the company of good players, like I am,” Clark said. “It’s really an honor, but more than anything, I felt like we played a good basketball game.”

This wasn’t going to be a close game for the No. 13 Hawkeyes (10-3) heading into the Christmas break. Iowa scored 16 of the game’s first 18 points, led 34-19 at the end of the first quarter and outscored Dartmouth (2-11) 20-5 in the second quarter.

A lackluster third quarter — Dartmouth outscored the Hawkeyes 17-15 — disappointed Bluder.

“We let up a little bit after halftime,” Bluder said. “But at the same time I think we got that energy back in the fourth quarter.”

Iowa had 30 assists on 35 field goals. Monika Czinano had 20 points for the Hawkeyes — she is now 11 points away for 2,000 for her career. McKenna Warnock had 14 points, and A.J. Ediger had a career-high 10 points.

Clark added 10 rebounds for her 31st career double-double. Kate Martin had a career-high 13 assists.

Clark, who went on Twitter on Tuesday and offered four free tickets to the game, gave away a pair of her shoes to a young girl after the game.

“It was just a little girl who looked like she was just happy to be at the game, so I think she was pretty shocked,” Clark said. “I don’t think she was really expecting me to give her my shoes. She was, like, ‘For me?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, for you.’ So hopefully I gave her a good present for the holiday season and made her happy.

“I have quite a few shoes in my locker so my teammates are probably glad I just disposed of a pair. I’m glad I can put a smile on somebody else’s face, and that’s what this season is all about. And I hope she enjoys them and keeps them and reminds her of, you know, that she can always dream to be one of us. And that’s more important than winning a basketball game at the end of the day.”

Photo: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark autographs her shoes for a young fan after Wednesday’s win. (Keith Gillett/Icon SportsWire)

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