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Iowa Hawkeyes Women's Basketball triumphs with Caitlin Clark's stellar performance in win over Loyola-Chicago

In a resounding display of skill and determination, the Iowa Hawkeyes Women's Basketball team claimed a commanding 98-69 victory over Loyola Chicago, led by the stellar performance of basketball sensation Caitlin Clark.

Loyola-Chicago v Iowa
Loyola-Chicago v Iowa / Matthew Holst/GettyImages
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In a resounding display of skill and determination, the Iowa Hawkeyes Women's Basketball team claimed a commanding 98-69 victory over Loyola Chicago, led by the stellar performance of basketball sensation Caitlin Clark.

The Iowa Hawkeyes faced a competitive challenge on Thursday from Loyola-Chicago in women's basketball, at least in the early stages of the game. Loyola matched Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes stride for stride until the halftime horn sounded. However, Iowa, fueled by Caitlin Clark's remarkable 13th career triple-double (35 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists), transformed into the dominant force it's known to be. The Hawkeyes secured a 98-69 home victory, concluding their non-conference schedule on a high note with a 12-1 record.

Despite a shaky defensive start acknowledged by Coach Lisa Bluder, the team significantly improved in the second half, limiting Loyola to 23 points. Clark, who moved into seventh place on the NCAA's all-time scoring list, acknowledged the challenging nature of the game but gave credit to Loyola for their impressive performance. The Hawkeyes, typically accustomed to decisive victories, faced a persistent opponent in Loyola, which initially shot over 50% and held a substantial lead.

However, Iowa adjusted and responded effectively in the second half. Clark's standout performance, especially in the third quarter with 16 points, contributed to Iowa's comfortable lead. The team sealed the win with a 13-0 surge in the final minutes. Notably, Hannah Stuelke's return to the starting lineup after injury showcased her strength with 20 points and eight rebounds. Kate Martin and Sydney Affolter also provided crucial double-digit scoring, with Affolter stepping up in the absence of Gabbie Marshall.

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Despite moments of defensive challenges, the team's halftime focus on valuing the ball paid off, allowing Iowa to avoid a potential upset. With the victory secured, Iowa now enters an eight-day holiday break before resuming Big Ten play against Minnesota next Saturday. The break offers an opportunity for the team to recharge and regroup for the challenges ahead with conference play.