Caitlin Clark’s triple-double leads No. 4 Iowa over Illinois, 101-85 – Metro US

Caitlin Clark’s triple-double leads No. 4 Iowa over Illinois, 101-85

Illinois Iowa Basketball
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives to the basket under pressure from Illinois guard Makira Cook (3) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Cliff Jette)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Caitlin Clark scored 24 points on the way to her 16th career triple-double, Hannah Stuelke added 20 and No. 4 Iowa defeated Illinois 101-85 on Sunday.

Clark had 15 rebounds and 10 assists for her Division I-leading fifth triple-double of the season as Iowa (24-4, 13-3 Big Ten) bounced back from a loss to No. 14 Indiana. Clark, the nation’s leading scorer at 32.1 points per game, went 6 of 18 from the field, including 5 of 14 in 3-pointers.

“That’s amazing,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said of the triple-double. “But I just loved that other people stepped up tonight and took responsibility. I loved the balance we had.”

Clark showed frustration at times. When she came to the bench in the first half, she smacked her hands on a chair twice in anger.

“I think it was just missing shots that I usually make,” Clark said. “Sometimes you have to let it out and regroup. I asked for the sub, just to take a second, take a deep breath. Obviously I didn’t shoot it great tonight but still, it wasn’t terrible.”

Molly Davis had 17 points and Kate Martin had 13 for the Hawkeyes. Iowa, the nation’s leader in scoring offense at 91.8 points per game, topped the 100-point mark for the ninth time this season.

“We want people to step up, because it makes Caitlin’s job easier,” Bluder said. “When other people are doing what they should be doing, it makes her job easier, and it makes us more enjoyable to watch.”

Iowa had 28 assists on 36 field goals, and the Hawkeyes had 17 3-pointers.

“You’ve got to give Iowa credit: We were on spin cycle the entire game,” Illinois coach Shauna Green said. “They hit 17 3s. You can’t beat anyone when they hit 17 3s. And that’s all from their inside-out action.”

Bluder said there was nothing unusual about what the Hawkeyes were doing.

“We were just running our offense, truly,” Bluder said. “We pushed the ball well in transition. I think people just stepped up and made shots.”

Bluder pointed to the number of assists to show the efficiency of Iowa’s offense.

“There was some beautiful passing out there,” Bluder said. “Caitlin’s passes, the dumps to the post, were amazing in the first half. In the second half, there was just such unselfish play. That’s the basketball we want to see.”

Clark struggled with her shooting in the first half, but her teammates stepped up. Clark was just 2 of 9 from the field, 1 of 7 in 3-pointers, but the Hawkeyes built a 50-34 halftime lead behind Davis, who had 12 points, and Stuelke, who had 10. Iowa had a 10-0 run in the first quarter and a 12-2 run in the second.

Makira Cook scored 26 points to lead five players for Illinois (13-13, 7-9) in double figures. Genesis Bryant had 19 points, Adalia McKenzie added 13, Camille Hobby had 12 and Kendall Bostic contributed 10 points and 17 rebounds.


Illinois: The Illini, coming off a home win over Indiana, fell behind early after surrendering the two big first-half runs to the Hawkeyes. They opened the second half with a quick 7-2 run but could never get within single digits.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes, whose 17-point loss at Indiana on Thursday was their worst defeat of the season, recovered to keep pace in the Big Ten standings. Iowa has averaged 103 points in the four games after losses this season. The Hawkeyes are tied with Indiana in second place, one game behind Ohio State. Iowa gets the Buckeyes at home to close the regular season next Sunday.


Illinois: At Michigan State on Thursday.

Iowa: At Minnesota on Wednesday.

Get alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here. AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball