Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark hit a deep three-pointer at the buzzer to lift the No. 4 Hawkeyes to a thrilling 76-73 win over Michigan State on Tuesday night.
Heroics From Hawkeyes’ Star
Clark put the team on her back all night, scoring 40 points while dishing out 5 assists in a signature performance. Her heroics capped off a back-and-forth battle between two of the best teams in the Big Ten conference.
With 4 seconds remaining and the game tied at 73, Clark took the inbounds pass and dribbled up the court. Despite heavy pressure from the Spartan defense, she launched a high-arcing three from several feet behind the logo at half court that swished through as time expired.
“I knew it was good right away, it felt good out of my hands,” Clark said after the game.
The shot capped yet another outstanding performance for the reigning National Player of the Year. Clark shot 14-of-26 from the field and 7-of-13 on three-pointers. She also had 5 assists and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
Her 40-point outburst was the seventh time this season she has reached that mark. Earlier this year, she set a Big Ten conference record by scoring 45 points in a game.
|Scoring by Quarter
|Rest of team
“That kid is just different, give her the praise she deserves,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said after the game. “To have that wherewithal and presence to shoot that shot with time running out is special.”
Clark also received praise from Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant after the heartbreaking loss.
“She’s one of the best players I’ve seen at that age,” Merchant said. “That kid lives for those moments.”
The game featured nine ties and twelve lead changes, with neither team leading by more than eight points.
Michigan State led for most of the first half before Iowa closed on an 11-3 run to take a 33-29 lead into halftime. The second half remained tight, with Iowa’s biggest lead being six points.
Dee Dee Hagemann led Michigan State with 16 points. Matilda Ekh had 15 points and Taiyier Parks added 11. The Spartans also got strong contributions from their bench, which outscored Iowa’s reserves 30-4.
But Michigan State had no answer for Clark when it mattered most. After Ekh hit a jumper to tie the game with 27 seconds left, Iowa put the ball in Clark’s hands for the final shot.
“The plan was really to let [Clark] go the whole way,” Bluder said. “She wanted the ball in her hands and I felt comfortable with that.”
As soon as the shot left Clark’s hands, everyone in the arena knew it had a chance. The ball floated through the air as the buzzer sounded, finally swishing cleanly to send the Iowa bench and fans into a frenzy.
Clark was immediately mobbed by her teammates as the Michigan State players collapsed to the floor in disbelief.
“I was just hoping it would get there, and it did, thankfully,” Clark said. “It’s definitely up there for my favorite moments.”
The arena exploded with noise that registered on local Richter scales, according to some reports. One fan tweeted that her Apple Watch registered the noise as exercise from jumping up and down.
Many observers marveled not just at the final shot, but how Clark seemed destined to get the ball for the game-winner.
“It’s like Clark simply refused to let her team lose. She put them on her back and made a play only the greats make,” wrote one analyst.
Clark’s heroics add to the growing legend surrounding the junior guard. She now has eight game winning shots in her career, which puts her in elite company in NCAA history.
What This Means
The dramatic win helps Iowa keep pace in the ultra-competitive Big Ten conference race. The Hawkeyes are now 13-2 overall and remain tied with No. 2 Ohio State atop the conference standings with a 3-1 record.
Meanwhile, Michigan State falls to 11-5 overall and 2-2 in league play. But they served notice that they have the talent to compete with anyone, nearly taking down a top-5 team on the road.
Both teams have several more big games coming up that will shape the conference title race. Iowa has a rivalry matchup with No. 22 Illinois on Saturday, followed by tough road games next week against No. 6 Indiana and No. 10 Maryland.
Michigan State also hits the road this week to face Rutgers and Penn State. Then next week, the Spartans will host No. 17 Michigan before facing Minnesota.
With just over half the Big Ten schedule remaining, there is still much to be determined. But for one night, the spotlight shined brightly on Clark and the Hawkeyes thanks to a magical buzzer-beater that will live on in highlights for years to come.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.