Clark’s 22 helps No. 7 Iowa top No. 5 Maryland in Big Ten semis
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Caitlin Clark had 22 points and nine assists, Gabbie Marshall and McKenna Warnock each scored 21 points, and seventh-ranked Iowa made a season-high 15 shots from 3-point range to beat fifth-ranked Maryland 89-84 in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday.
The defending conference tournament champion Hawkeyes (25-6) will play 14th-ranked Ohio State in the championship game on Sunday afternoon. The Buckeyes overcame a 24-point deficit to beat second-ranked Indiana, the regular season champion, in the other semifinal.
Abby Meyers and Diamond Miller each scored 21 points for the Terrapins (25-6), who handed the Hawkeyes their worst loss of the season — 96-68 at Maryland — just two weeks ago.
Miller’s bounce pass on the break to Faith Masonius set up the tying layup for Maryland with 2:19 to go. Clark’s NBA-range shot rimmed out, but Warnock got the rebound and fed Marshall for her seventh 3-pointer of the game and the lead for good with 1:44 left.
Miller missed a 3-point try from a crowded corner. Then Clark fed a high-low pass to her close friend Monika Czinano, who came back for a fifth season for just this kind of March madness, for the layup to make it 84-79.
After an offensive foul on Clark, Lavender Briggs hit a 3-pointer for the Terrapins to trim the lead back to one point with 25 seconds to go. But Warnock made four free throws over the balance of the game to ice it.
The Hawkeyes enjoyed another home-like atmosphere, after their fans filled up the lower bowl and howled for every made basket and against every unfavorable call.
The attendance for the afternoon at Target Center was announced at 9,375, the second-largest session in Big Ten Tournament history. The record (9,417) was set at the 2014 championship game in Indianapolis.
The crowd and the Hawkeyes players fed off each other well down the stretch.
After grabbing a defensive rebound, Shyanne Sellers turned the ball over to Warnock for a 3-pointer in transition. Miller’s turnover on the next possession led to another Iowa break and a swish from deep by Marshall for an eight-point lead with 5:57 to go — the largest of the second half. Marshall spun around in celebration after the whistle and jumped high in the air at midcourt to bump shoulders with Clark.
Clark, the preseason All-American and Big Ten player of the year pick, had 12 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter of the quarterfinal win over Purdue on Friday night.
The game was physical and intense, just like the Ohio State-Indiana matchup before it. Miller and Sellers both left briefly with minor injuries before returning. After Miller missed the first of her two free throws in the first quarter, the Iowa crowd — still mad about the foul call — jeered loudly. After Miller hit a 3-pointer a few minutes later, she motioned to the Hawkeyes fans as they complained for a technical foul on the Maryland star.
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