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Rapid Reaction: In front of sold-out crowd, Caitlin Clark leads No. 3 Iowa to 110-74 win over Northwestern

It was an atmosphere for the ages in Welsh-Ryan Arena.

@nuwbball / Twitter

Caitlin Clark didn’t disappoint.

In front of a sold-out crowd that drew a pregame line of spectators bending around Ashland Avenue, Northwestern (7-14, 2-8 B1G) dropped its fifth straight game in a 110-73 loss to No. 3 Iowa (20-2, 9-1 B1G). The reigning Wooden Award winner led the Hawkeyes with 35 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. She made 11 of her 22 field goals, and three of her 12 attempts from long-range. Hannah Stuelke added 17 points and nine rebounds, while Kate Martin scored 16.

Northwestern junior Melannie Daley led her team with 19 points of her own on 8-of-17 shooting. Junior Hailey Weaver and senior Paige Mott also reached double figures, notching 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Junior Caileigh Walsh put the first points up on the board for the Wildcats, making a three-pointer to start the game. However, Walsh committed a foul on the next play, allowing Iowa’s Kate Martin to get two free throws in.

After a few missed field goals from both teams, Weaver made it 5-2 for the ‘Cats, but Clark answered with a three to tie the game up for the Hawkeyes’ first field goal. Stuelke extended the lead to 7-5.

Daley and Mott broke a two-minute scoring drought to put their team within one before the first media timeout. Following the break, Stuelke made a layup, followed by a three-pointer for graduate student Maggie Pina to even the score at 12.

Though Daley made another mid-range jumper, Iowa was able to capitalize on another Clark three and a pair of free throws to go ahead 20-14. The ‘Cats made another free throw, but the Hawkeyes held a 24-15 edge to end the first quarter.

To start the second, first-year Casey Harter made one of her two free throws, which Clark immediately answered with a pair. Following another Harter basket, Daley stole the ball from Iowa possession. She was fouled by Iowa’s Kate Martin and made a free throw to cut the deficit to seven. After Stuelke and Mott traded layups, graduate students Molly Davis and Gabbie Marshall made threes to put Iowa back ahead by double-digits.

Clark then made another layup, on which she passed former Ohio State star Kelsey Mitchell as the all-time Big Ten scoring leader. Weaver went on a five-point scoring run, and Harter made another free throw to make the score 38-27.

The Hawkeyes scored six more, but Daley gave the Wildcats momentum by scoring on back-to-back drives. However, that momentum didn’t last long, as Martin made a three. Headed into halftime, Iowa led 47-32.

The Hawkeyes opened up the third quarter on a 7-2 scoring run, with Daley making a layup between all of Iowa’s points. Mott then made it 54-36 before Joe McKeown called timeout early in the third quarter.

On the first possession after the break, Marshall hit a three to give Iowa a 20-point lead. Clark then blocked Weaver to force a Northwestern turnover before draining a three of her own. With five minutes left in the quarter and the Hawkeyes up 62-42, the second media timeout took place.

Walsh and Clark both made layups after the time out, but Clark fell onto the floor, hit her head, and was taken out of the game. She came back out shortly afterward around two minutes later.

With one minute left in the third quarter, Walsh received her fifth personal foul and was taken out of the game. Weaver boosted the ‘Cats with a three-pointer as the quarter concluded, but it didn’t do much as Iowa outscored Northwestern 26-18 in the third and led 73-50.

The fourth quarter didn’t go much better for the Wildcats, with Iowa sealing the deal by scoring 37 points compared to Northwestern’s 24. It ultimately claimed the 36-point victory. Clark checked out with just under five minutes to play, and she received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Northwestern will have three days off before resuming action back at home against Wisconsin. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on Big Ten Plus.