Clark and the Hawkeyes in driver's seat to win Big Ten Tournament with win over Penn State

Ohio State was upset. Now, the 2024 Big Ten Tournament is Iowa's to lose.
Iowa v Penn State
Iowa v Penn State / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages

It wasn't always clean, but the Iowa Hawkeyes were able to put away Penn State 95-62 to advance to the semi-finals of the 2024 Big Ten Tournament. Earlier in the day, the Hawkeyes got some help and now sit strongly in the driver's seat to a Big Ten Tournament championship.

Caitlin Clark did have an off-game, missing her first 11 three-point shots and ending with 24 points. The Nittany Lions had a solid defensive gameplan for Iowa for the majority of the contest. Still, she did pass Steph Curry for most three-pointers in a single season in NCAA history.

Clark consistently had to take contested shots if she could find a shot in the first place. After dropping a career-high 47 against Penn State in the regular season matchup Hannah Stuelke was double-teamed in the paint and struggled to garner much offense.

However, the rest of the Hawkeyes found success from beyond the arc as Gabbie Marshall drained four of her five attempts while Sydney Affolter hit five in place of Molly Davis. Five Hawkeyes scored double-digit points.

The Hawkeyes' interior defense made scoring a near impossibility for Penn State. The Nittany Lions missed their first six shot attempts and eventually shot just 35% from the field, largely failing to take advantage of offensive rebounds and turnovers.

Another win with an off-night from Clark is massive for Iowa as they near the NCAA Tournament. Knowing the Hawkeyes don't need other-worldly performances from Clark gives the team the best chance to make a deep run in that tournament.

But in the meantime, the Hawkeyes are looking for their third-straight Big Ten Tournament championship, and there is little reason they shouldn't do so.

The past nine Big Ten Tournaments have been won by a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. With Ohio State losing to No. 8 Maryland, the No. 2 Hawkeyes have a clear path, on paper, to a tourney title.

The Hawkeyes will play the winner of No. 6 Michigan and No. 3 Indiana following Game 11 on Saturday evening on the Big Ten Network.

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