IOWA 96, MARYLAND 82: Clark’s Campaign — 42 Points And Too Much Information


IOWA CITY — Her coach had just delivered the argument on how she should be national player of the year, but Caitlin Clark had a confession.

Right before the second half of Thursday’s game against Maryland started, Clark said, she nearly threw up at midcourt.

“I know, probably TMI,” she said, laughing.

Too much information, yes. But wait, there’s more.

Clark was getting ready for the Terrapins to get the ball inbounds to start the half when she began bending over at midcourt. She had a conversation with Iowa coach Lisa Bluder, then the game continued.

“I didn’t feel good,” she said. “I thought my applesauce was coming up.”

Losing your halftime snack in a nationally-televised game probably isn’t the best thing for that whole awards campaign, but here’s something that was — 42 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, 13-of-19 from the field, 6-of-11 in 3-pointers, 10-of-11 in free throws as the No. 6 Hawkeyes defeated No. 8 Maryland 96-82.

That kind of game, Bluder said, is why Clark should be the national player of the year.

“I don’t know how you can she is not,” Bluder said. “She was unbelievable.”

Bluder’s words came after the opposing coach gave her assessment.

“A once-in-a-lifetime player,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “Just a huge night. She’s a special player.”

The Hawkeyes (18-4 overall, 10-1 Big Ten) seem built for these big games now. The skittishness that has come out at times in past seasons is gone — the Terrapins (18-5, 9-3) are the third team in the Associated Press top 10 that Iowa has beaten this season.

Iowa has won seven consecutive games, 13 of their last 14 dating back to early December.

“I think we can be better,” Bluder said.

“There’s always another level,” said center Monika Czinano, who had 28 points on 14-of-18 shooting.

It’s hard to guess Clark’s highest level.

She had a season-high 45 points earlier this season in a 94-81 loss to North Carolina State, and said after the game that maybe that was too much, that every time she scored 40 or more points, Iowa lost.

This game was a convincing argument against that.

Clark had 24 points in the first half as Iowa built a 56-38 halftime lead.

The Terrapins wanted to slow her and no, that wasn’t going to happen.

“I think we could have been up in her space more,” said Maryland guard Shyanne Sellers. “You’ve got to stay attached to that girl.”

Clark and Czinano combined for 42 first-half points — 25 in the second quarter — as the Hawkeyes put together a start that shook the Terrapins.

“We allowed the crowd, we allowed a lot of different emotions, take us out of the game,” Frese said.

Iowa held that double-digit lead throughout the second half. The closest the Terrapins would get would be 10 points twice.

The Hawkeyes were up 68-57 with 2:08 left in the third quarter when Clark hit a long 3-pointer from the court logo closest to the Iowa bench, a 30-footer that prompted her to look toward the crowd and give that this-is-what-you-paid-for-this-is-what-you’re-going-to-get shrug of the shoulders that she often does.

The Terrapins had no chance at that point.

The Hawkeyes shot 61.7 percent from the field. Clark and Czinano combined to make 27 of 37 shots.

“That is just really hard to do,” Bluder said, and right after she mentioned that statistic line Clark and Czinano high-fived and started laughing.

Clark appreciated her coach’s nomination speech, but this isn’t her campaign.

“I know as long as my team wins, all that takes care of itself,” Clark said. “And, you know, it’s not something I think about every day, but that is a huge honor.

“I don’t, like, just brush it off  — it is something you should be proud of and our program should be proud of, but that’s not the reason you play the game of basketball. I play it because I love it. It brings a lot of people joy, not only myself, so when you get wins like this, that’s the most important thing, and that’s what makes basketball so fun.”

Photo: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark reacts during Thursday’s 96-82 win over Maryland. (Stephen Mally/

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