Hawkeyes 3-Peat, Outlast Huskers in OT

MINNEAPOLIS — The second-seeded and third-ranked University of Iowa women’s basketball team rallied to upend fifth-seeded Nebraska, 94-89, in overtime to become Big Ten Champions for the third consecutive season inside a sold-out Target Center on Sunday afternoon.

All-American Caitlin Clark (34) and Hannah Stuelke (25) combined for 59 points to lead the Hawkeyes. Clark, who netted 30 of her 34 points over the final 24 minutes, also had seven boards, three steals, and a game-high 12 assists, while Stuelke also grabbed nine rebounds. Sydney Affolter registered her third straight 10-point performance and second career double-double with 11 points and a team-best 11 rebounds.

Clark was named the Big Ten Tournament MVP for the third consecutive tournament. She is only second player since 1995 to earn MVP honors in three straight tournaments (Jantel Lavender, Ohio State).

There were 16 lead changes and four ties with the Hawkeyes leading for only 2:10 minute of the 45-minute championship contest.

"This was definitely the hardest (tournament) to win out of the last three. I am so proud of our team. They are so resilient. Our fans here today were incredible, if it wasn’t for them I don’t think we win."

Caitlin Clark

Marshall opened the game with a three, starting an exchange of buckets between Iowa and Nebraska. The Huskers pulled away on a 9-0, and extended their lead to as large as 12 in the first quarter. An 8-0 Iowa run ending with a triple by Taylor McCabe brought the Hawkeyes within four. Nebraska ended the first period with a six-point advantage.

It was more of the same in the second quarter. The Hawkeyes and Huskers went back and forth keeping the lead within seven until Nebraska pulled away to go into halftime with an 11-point cushion.

The Hawkeyes inched their way back coming within five before the third-quarter media timeout and took a brief 53-52 lead with 2:12 to play in the third (the first lead since 8:26 in the first) with a drive to the basket by Clark. Going into the fourth, the score was tied 58-58.

Nebraska led by eight (75-67) with 2:30 left in regulation, but Iowa closed regulation on a 10-2 run to extend the game five extra minutes. The Hawkeyes made their final four field-goal attempts of regulation triples by Clark and Martin.

“Even being down eight with just over two minutes to play, we never gave up,” said Clark.

Iowa scored the first five points of overtime, but Nebraska answered scoring seven straight points to take a two-point lead with 2:30 remaining. Trailing by one with just under one minute to play, Clark hit a step-back triple to give the Hawkeyes a two-point lead, which they would not relinquish.

“I do want to say Nebraska just played an outstanding game. It took everything we had to win this game obviously. You all saw it. Then I have to acknowledge our fans. They are amazing. They show up in Carver. They show up here. They show up in Dallas. They show up everywhere. We are just so thankful for them. I know I keep saying it, but I can’t express it enough. They give us energy. They give us confidence. When we win, we want to share it with them. We really do. I thought we fought hard tonight, and we had to. It’s not very often we have fought from behind. That was our biggest deficit at halftime. We just tried to reset at halftime I thought they came out, and that third quarter was really good, really good. Then we lost the lead, and they fought back again. I’m incredibly proud of our group.”

– The Hawkeyes overcame its largest halftime deficit of the year (11 points).
– Iowa has now tallied seven Big Ten Tournament titles in program history.
– Iowa has won four of the last six Big Ten Tournament titles (2019, 2022, 2023 and 2024).
– Lisa Bluder earned her fifth Big Ten Tournament title (2001, 2019, 2022, 2023 and 2024), to tie Maryland head coach Brenda Frese.
– Bluder also has earned a tournament record 32 victories during her career.
– Iowa made 39 triples during the tournament, the most in Big Ten Tournament history. The Hawkeyes also made 31 treys in 2021 and 2023, as did Ohio State in 2020 which is good for second.
– Clark set a Big Ten Tournament career record with 112 assists in her 13 tournament games. The previous record was held by Samantha Prahalis of Ohio State (67 assists in 11 games from 2009-12).
– Iowa is the fourth team in conference history to win three straight Big Ten Tournament titles (Maryland, Ohio State and Purdue).
– Sydney Affolter was named to the Big Ten’s All-Tournament Team.
– Iowa has played in five out of the last six Big Ten Tournament Championships.
– Clark posted her 64th career double-double; she is third on the Big Ten’s all-time list.
– Over the last two seasons, Iowa has won 60 games, which is the best two-year stretch in program history.
– Iowa broke the Big Ten’s single season record for 3-pointers made which was set by Iowa (350) a season ago (358).
– Clark is the all-time leader in 30+ point performances in men’s and women’s college basketball over the last 25 seasons (56).
– She has 20 career games with 30+ points and 10+ assists, no one in college women’s basketball in past 25 seasons has more than two such games. Five of those have come against ranked teams.
– Iowa is 38-25 all-time in Big Ten Tournament action.
– Iowa is 15-2 in its last 17 Big Ten Tournament games.
– Iowa is 44-6 against Big Ten opponents since Feb. 9, 2022.
– Since 2009, no player has recorded more games of 35+ points, 5+ assists, and 5+ rebounds. Clark has done it 20 times.
– Kate Martin is the 18th Hawkeye record 700+ rebounds in a career.
– Hannah Stuelke was 11-of-13 from the free throw in the BTT.
– Martin is third Hawkeye in school history to net 1,200+ points, 700+ rebounds, and 450+ assists (Caitlin Clark and Sam Logic).
– Martin is fifth all-time at Iowa for career assists.
– Gabbie Marshall is 16-of-32 in her last four games from 3-point range.
– Marshall (160) and Martin (158) are eyeing Monika Czinano’s games played record (162).
– Among active players who didn’t transfer, Marshall (124) and Martin (121) are third and fourth nationally for most active wins in a career.
– Clark leads the country in 20+ point games this season with 33.
– Clark is the only player in the country with 1,000+ points, 280+ assists, and 225+ rebounds this season.
– Since the start of the 2020-21 season, Iowa leads the nation with 104 games of 80+ points.
– UI has scored 80 or more points 27 times this season.
– Iowa leads the Big Ten with 24 games of 90+ points this season.
– The country’s best offense has record 90+ points in 13 out of the last 15 games.
– Clark has scored 20+ points in 118-of-133 career games which is the most in program history.
– Clark kept her streak alive of 90 consecutive games making a 3-point basket (NCAA best).
– Clark is the first Division-I men’s or women’s player to record 3,700+ points, 1,000+ assists, and 850+ rebounds in a career.

The Hawkeyes will wait for Selection Sunday on March 17 at 7 p.m. (CT) on ESPN.

Gabbie Marshall