Caitlin Clark dodges record talk: We have to stop blowing leads (0:46)
Caitlin Clark says she’s more focused on helping her team win than setting the NCAA women’s scoring record. (0:46)
Feb 11, 2024, 03:36 PM ET
Nebraska and Iowa fans alike came to Pinnacle Bank Arena hoping to see Caitlin Clark set the NCAA women’s career scoring record in a nationally televised celebration of women’s basketball.
What they got instead was a huge performance by the Cornhuskers (16-8, 8-5 Big Ten), whose first win over a Top 25 opponent this season and first over Iowa in 10 tries was punctuated by a student-led court storming.
Clark scored 31 points but missed her final six shots, including one just before the buzzer. She was scoreless in the fourth quarter.
“Just didn’t execute down the stretch. It stinks,” Clark said.
Clark now has 3,520 career points and needs eight more to pass Kelsey Plum’s record of 3,527 for Washington from 2013 to ’17. Her next game is Thursday at home against Michigan.
“It’s not at the front of my mind right now,” Clark said after the Hawkeyes fell out of a tie with Ohio State atop the Big Ten standings.
Hannah Stuelke‘s layup with 9:22 left gave Iowa (22-3, 11-2) its biggest lead, at 71-57. The Huskers then scored 23 of the next 31 points.
Shelley, who finished with 23 points, including five 3-pointers, gave the Huskers the lead when she launched a 3 from the right corner as the shot clock was winding down.
“On a day like today, I’m just so proud to be the head coach at Nebraska and proud of this team and the way they showed great response throughout the fourth quarter and found a way to win,” Cornhuskers coach Amy Williams said.
Clark’s 3-point try nicked off the front of the rim before Shelley made two free throws with 18.1 seconds left. Stuelke scored to make it 80-79, but Shelley hit two more shots from the stripe, and Clark and Kate Martin missed 3s at the end.
Iowa had pulled well ahead in the third quarter, making 9 of 12 shots and outscoring the Huskers 30-20.
The crowd was split evenly between Nebraska and Iowa fans. “Let’s go, Hawks!” chants started before tipoff.
Nebraska kept it close in the first half and trailed just 39-35 at the break. Shelley made three 3-pointers, including two straight late in the second quarter to keep Iowa from pulling away.
Clark had 17 points in the first half, but her contributions on defense and as a facilitator were just as important. She ratcheted up her scoring in the third quarter, accounting for 14 points.
The game was the first women’s basketball sellout in program history. A few sellers on the secondary ticket market were asking as much as $2,000 for a seat in the lower bowl. The highest seats on one end of the arena were unfilled, though.
Fans began lining up in sub-freezing weather six hours before tipoff to enter Pinnacle Bank Arena. Some were there to root for Clark; others to root against her.
“I’m here to heckle today because I do not want her to get that record and just thought the shirt and bringing up him would be something to get in her mind a little bit,” Huskers fan Nick Ames said. “I’m a Husker fan. She can get [the record] at home if she wants it.”