Clark's 24 points, 11 assists lead No. 4 Iowa women past Bowling Green 99-65

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Caitlin Clark had 24 points and 11 assists, and Kate Martin added 17 points, as No. 4 Iowa beat Bowling Green 99-65 on Saturday.

Clark, the nation’s leader in scoring and assists, recorded the 47th double-double of her career and third of the season. She hit her first 3-pointer 56 seconds in, but didn’t make another one until there was 8:15 remaining in the game. She was 10 of 20 from the field, but just 2 of 11 on 3-pointers. Clark added seven rebounds.

Bowling Green played a diamond-and-one defense to try to slow Clark, but the rest of Iowa's offense took advantage. The Hawkeyes (8-1) shot 66.7% from the field for the game and got 72 points inside.

“Seventy-two paint points — those are high-percentage shots,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “In that diamond-and-one, we got layups. You're going to take layups. If they're going to take away Caitlin, we'll take the layup. That's no big deal."

Bowling Green coach Fred Chmiel said it was important to try to slow Clark.

“She's the engine that makes them go,” Chmiel said. “She's got every award in her closet. It's imperative you make sure you take care of her and let the chips fall where they may. We weren't going to allow her to expose us early and get clean looks and get her wheels rolling, because then all aspects of her game take place.”

Iowa led 48-32 at halftime after opening the game with a 21-5 run. The Hawkeyes had 10 assists on their first 12 field goals and shot 61.8% from the field while holding Bowling Green (5-2) to 31.4% shooting in the half, 23.8% in the second quarter.

“They're a pesky little team,” Bluder said of the Falcons. “You have to keep after them.”

Iowa had a 44-27 rebounding edge.

“Their size is overwhelming in the post,” Chmiel said.

Sydney Affolter tied a career high with 14 points for the Hawkeyes, going 7 of 7 from the field.

“We really emphasize passing up a good shot for a great shot,” Affolter said. “I think we had a lot of one-more passes that were great.”

Sharon Goodman added 12 points and 11 rebounds for Iowa. Addison O’Grady had 10 points.

Lexi Fleming led Bowling Green with 24 points. Amy Velasco added 11.

STAR POWER

Former WNBA player Sue Bird and actor Jason Sudeikis were in attendance, sitting together courtside.

Sudeikis brought one of the loudest cheers when he stood and danced after a clip of him dancing in his show “Ted Lasso” was shown on the video screen.

“I got him to sign my ‘Believe’ poster on the door of my office,” Bluder said. “I've had that up there for about a month, before I knew he was coming here.”

BIG PICTURE

Bowling Green: The Falcons had opened the season strong, including a win over NCAA tournament qualifier Cleveland State, but this was a step up in competition. They didn’t get many open looks against Iowa’s defense, especially in the first half, but kept pace with the Hawkeyes in the second and third quarters after Iowa’s early start.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes hadn’t played since last Sunday’s win over Kansas State, and needed the rest after opening the season with eight games in 19 days, a stretch that included four neutral-court games and a road game. The start to the game put them in control, but there were times the offense felt stagnant.

UP NEXT

Bowling Green: At Wright State on December 12.

Iowa: At Iowa State on Wednesday.

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AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball