Lisa Bluder explains key to Iowa's third quarter run vs. Nebraska

On3 imageby:Barkley Truax02/11/24

BarkleyTruax

Iowa separated itself from Nebraska in the third quarter after a tightly contested first half between the Hawkeyes and Huskers.

Lisa Bluder’s squad led by as many as 14 points against Nebraska and has never trailed in the ball game. The Hawkeyes head coach explained what changed after the halftime break.

“The key is to work for good shots,” Bluder said before the fourth quarter. “We were much better at running our offense in the third quarter than we did the first half. We tried to emphasize our threes and ball reversals. I thought we did a little bit better job, but we’re also getting our transition game going and that’s always good.”

The difference, as it always seems to be, is Iowa star Caitlin Clark who scored 14 in the third quarter. She entered the fourth quarter just eight points away from breaking the all-time NCAA scoring record in college basketball history.

This would not end up being the case, however, as Clark was held scoreless in the final quarter despite scoring 31 points on the night — seven shy of the all-time record. She had to fight through double teams in the final quarter and Nebraska did its due diligence by not leaving Clark alone for even a second.

Nebraska’s fifth-year Aussie senior Jaz Shelley was able to complete the Husker comeback by erasing a double-digit fourth-quarter lead by nailing a difference-making 3-point basket during the final minute of regulation. She sunk four consecutive free throws after the fact to put the game on ice.

Now, Iowa has dropped in the Big Ten rankings and is now tied for second place with Indiana at 11-2 in conference play.

All eyes will be on Iowa’s game on Thursday against Michigan, however, as Clark only needs to score eight points to break former Washington star Kelsey Plum’s record as the all-time scoring leader in women’s college basketball history.

Even though many focused on her chasing the all-time scoring record, Clark already reached rarified air before halftime as she surpassed 1,000 career assists during the first half of Sunday’s contest. She is the sixth women’s basketball player in college basketball history to achieve the feat.

With that accolade behind her, it’s almost academic that the nation’s leading scorer will be able to break the scoring record — but this time it will be in front of what is expected to be a capacity crowd in Iowa City on Thursday. Tip-off between the Wolverines and Hawkeyes is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET live on Peacock.