Clark scores 32, No. 5 Iowa beats No. 16 Kansas State 77-70 for Gulf Coast Showcase title

ESTERO, Fla. -- — Just when it seemed like Kansas State might beat Iowa for the third time in a little over 12 months, Caitlin Clark found herself remembering one of coach Lisa Bluder's mantras.

“She always says, ‘Find a way,’” Clark said.

That's what she and the Hawkeyes did — to win a title, and finally beat the Wildcats.

Clark scored 32 points, and No. 5 Iowa survived wasting a pair of double-digit leads before rallying to finally beat No. 16 Kansas State 77-70 in the championship game of the Gulf Coast Showcase on Sunday night.

Iowa finished the game on a 10-2 run.

“We just responded and stayed together,” Clark said.

Clark made seven 3-pointers, the last coming with 47 seconds left, to help ensure the Hawkeyes (7-1) would win and avenge a Nov. 16 loss to Kansas State. The Wildcats also beat Iowa last season.

Molly Davis added 13, while Kate Martin had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Iowa.

“We've come back on them twice before,” Kansas State coach Jeff Mittie said. “We've won the last four minutes of the game the two previous games. Didn’t do it today.”

Serena Sundell and Ayoka Lee each scored 18 for Kansas State (6-1), and Zyanna Walker finished with 11. The Wildcats got themselves into a 13-point hole early, then trailed by 11 in the second half.

Both times, they rallied. Sundell threw up a beat-the-clock prayer that bounced in to end the third quarter, and Kansas State — fueled by holding Iowa to a 1-for-11 stretch from the floor — went on a 14-2 run and took the lead back on Gisela Sanchez's three-point play with 2:44 remaining.

Martin then hit a layup to put Iowa back on top, and Clark scored Iowa's next seven points.

Things got a bit heated in the second half, when Bluder was arguing for what she thought were missed three-second calls. She was exchanging words with officials, and said Mittie then directed some her way.

“I’ve never had a coach yell at me from the sideline ever in my entire career," Bluder said. “I'm talking to the official, I'm not talking to him.”

Clark moved another spot — her fifth in three days — up the Division I all-time scoring list. She passed Appalachian State's Valorie Whiteside (2,944) for 16th and has moved up 21 spots since the start of the season. Now at 2,954, she's within 573 points of Kelsey Plum's record of 3,527.


Iowa: Clark's sixth field goal gave her 964 in her career, one more than Syracuse's Dyaisha Fair for the lead among all active women's college players. She finished with 12, for 970 total. Clark is now the active leader — among all divisions — in points, scoring average, field goals made, 3-pointers made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, assists, assist average and triple-doubles.

Kansas State: The Wildcats held Iowa to a 2-for-21 effort from 3-point range in their first meeting this month. The Hawkeyes were 12 for 32 from 3 on Sunday. Another big difference was free throws — Iowa was 11 for 16, Kansas State just 4 for 11.


Iowa will likely remain in the top 5 of the AP Top 25 for the sixth consecutive week, which would be the third-longest streak in school history.

Kansas State should remain ranked for the second straight week. The Wildcats hadn't made back-to-back appearances since Jan. 24 and 31, 2022 — and haven't been in three straight polls since the final three of the 2016-17 season.


Iowa: Hosts Bowling Green on Saturday.

Kansas State: Hosts Jackson State on Friday.


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