Late Maryland run falls just short, Clark drops 38 in Iowa’s over Maryland

With just over a minute and a half remaining in the third quarter, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark accelerated towards the rim, lofting and missing a driving layup. In a wild sequence, Hannah Stuelke then secured the offensive rebound before finding a relocated Clark once more. 

This time, the star guard converted, cashing in on a second-chance triple – halting a 12-5 Maryland scoring run and putting the Hawkeyes back in front heading into the final stretch of play.

The buckets from Clark – and lots more from others on the Hawkeyes – continued to rain down throughout, capitalizing on and extending a late lead that proved crucial, as Maryland fell 93-85 to No. 3 Iowa in front of a sold-out XFINITY Center crowd.

Clark, the nation’s leader in total points (707) and points per game (32.1), got Iowa on the board first with a pure triple on the game’s opening possession. 

But the Terps didn’t back down, blitzing and stunning the Hawkeyes with a dominant 11-0 scoring run – fueled by an electric College Park crowd and key buckets from Bri McDaniel, Shyanne Sellers, and Jakia-Brown Turner – to force an early Iowa timeout.

The veteran-led Hawkeyes then answered right back with an uncontested 9-0 run of their own, tying the game at 11 apiece.

The back-and-forth play and lightning-fast scoring pace continued throughout the remainder of the first quarter, with Brown-Turner and Clark trading baskets for both teams. Then, as the shot clock went dark near the end of the first quarter, Clark took over. Starting her move at half court, the senior guard calmly took four dribbles forward before a quick stepback triple that once more, splashed through the net and took the air out of XFINITY Center. Suddenly, the Hawkeyes found themselves in front, 27-19, with Clark having already scored 14.

The Iowa momentum extended throughout the second quarter. The Terps narrowed the deficit to as little as five, courtesy of a pair of timely Brinae Alexander three-pointers; however, the Hawkeyes’ offensive firepower and efficient scoring made it hard to keep up. Though Clark led the way with nine more second-quarter points, constant transition layups and wide-open triples from Stuelke, Molly Davis, and Addison O’Grady extended Iowa’s lead to a game-high 14 at the break.

“We’re really, really good when we have multiple [scorers] in double figures. That’s when we’ve been at our best,” added Clark, who eventually finished with 38 points of her own. “We’ve been able to find some balance.”

Through 21 games this season, Terps’ guard Bri McDaniel has served as the team’s anchor defensively, leading Maryland in steals per game (1.8 SPG). But it was McDaniel’s offense that kept the Terps within striking distance early in the third quarter. 

Just as Iowa extended its lead to nearly 20 points (and signs of a potential blowout cropped up), McDaniel brought Maryland back to reality – scoring six straight much-needed points off an array of jumpers, layups, and free throws, helping to spur a 23-3 Terps’ scoring run to eventually bring the game back to within single digits.

“I feel like the game is scoring down more for me,” McDaniel said. “[The team] puts me in the right positions, and [it’s just about] capitalizing off of them.”

Then, with just under six minutes remaining in the period, chaos ensued. 

First, back-to-back triples from Brown-Turner and Alexander (12 pts.) to cut the deficit to five. Then, a 10-0 Maryland run – filled with more scores from McDaniel (22 pts.) and Brown-Turner (25 pts, 9 reb.) – gave Maryland a two-point lead, its first since the sixth minute of play.

But similar to the first half, Iowa surged back with another 10-1 scoring run, retaking the lead as the third-quarter buzzer sounded.

In her first game back from a near week-long injury, Shyanne Sellers (14 pts, 7 reb, 8 ast.) waited until the fourth and final quarter to go into attack mode. The star junior dominated the transition game, picking up steals and rebounds before pushing the tempo upcourt and driving hard to the rim. It worked, as she proceeded to score six straight points for the Terps, evening the game at 76 apiece with just minutes remaining.

“We had a lot of intensity, attacking [Iowa] hard and making it tough to guard, [as well as] getting the ball out quick…trying to run it down their throat,” said Sellers. “…I wanted to be out there with my team in this moment, and I’m glad I was. I think we competed hard for 40 minutes.”

Seller’s run kept the game close, but costly fouls and defensive lapses sealed it – as the Hawkeyes outrebounded the Terps 18-8 in the final quarter, and dagger buckets from Kate Martin (15 pts, 10 reb.) and Molly Davis (17 pts, 7/11 FG) extended the Iowa lead to as much as 11 with mere seconds remaining – handing Maryland its fourth consecutive loss.

“Good things happen when we get [offensive] rebounds,” said Davis. “That’s why I was so open…we did such a great job there on [the rebounding front], and I think that’s a big reason as to why we won the game.”

With the loss, the Terps fall to 12-10 on the season (4-7 in Big Ten play) – the first time Maryland has registered double-digit losses in a single season since back in 2009-10.

“This game felt like March,” Frese emphasized. “Just super proud of this group and how we competed with the No. 3 team in the country, with the best player in the country. There’s no doubt that we’re an NCAA Tournament team.”

The Terps now have a few days off to regroup before traveling to Piscataway, New Jersey this Tuesday for an 8:30 p.m. tip-off against a struggling Rutgers team (6-17 overall; 0-10 in Big Ten play) – a golden opportunity for Maryland to get back on track.