Hawkeyes handle Holy Cross in tourney opener

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Caitlin Clark struggled to make shots early, but finished with 27 points and 10 assists as Iowa defeated Holy Cross 91-65 in a women’s NCAA tournament first-round game Saturday.

Kate Martin also had a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (30-4), the top seed in the Albany 2 Regional. Iowa advanced to Monday’s second round to face either eighth seed West Virginia or ninth seed Princeton.

Clark, a unanimous Associated Press All-American selection, was just 8 of 19 from the field, 3 of 9 in 3-pointers, showing her frustration with missed shots multiple times during the game.

She was constantly complaining to officials and at one point cameras caught her dad Brent telling her to stop.

“I should probably smile more. I’m a competitor,” said Clark, who even headbutted the basketball during the game in frustration. “I love this game. I’m a perfectionist.”

Clark finished with her 65th career double-double, and added eight rebounds.

She got off to a slow start and didn’t make her first field goal until 22 seconds were left in the first quarter. She committed five turnovers in the first eight minutes.

Iowa had a similar start. The Hawkeyes had a 10-0 run midway through the first quarter that didn’t bother the Crusaders, who were within 23-21 at the end of the quarter.

The Hawkeyes then outscored Holy Cross 25-9 in the second quarter, holding the Crusaders to just 1 of 12 shooting. Clark finally got her first 3-pointer with 3:26 left in the first half, shaking her head and rolling her eyes after making the shot.

Holy Cross (21-13) made 12 3-pointers in Thursday’s 72-45 First Four win over UT-Martin, but were just 7 of 34 in 3-pointers in this game, with only three in the second half. The Crusaders, who missed their first 10 shots of the fourth quarter, shot just 32.4% from the field.

Addison O’Grady had 14 points and Gabbie Marshall had 11 for the Hawkeyes. Iowa had a 50-37 rebounding edge despite starting forward Hannah Stuelke, the team’s second leading rebounder, playing just 10 minutes.

Bronagh Power-Cassidy had 19 points for Holy Cross. Janelle Allen had 18.

UP NEXT

Iowa: Second round on Monday at 7 p.m. CT against West Virginia, after the Mountaineers beat Princeton.

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Iowa guard Kate Martin (20) pulls down a rebound down as Holy Cross guard Simone Foreman (24) defends in the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 23, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
Iowa guard Kate Martin (20) pulls down a rebound down as Holy Cross guard Simone Foreman (24) defends in the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 23, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

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