Clark drops 38 on Terps, 66 from passing Plum

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Caitlin Clark faked the defender off her feet, took a dribble to her left and then released a 3-pointer.

It was no surprise when the ball dropped in, and Iowa was ahead to stay.

“That was probably the loudest the crowd was at that point, all night,” Clark said. “That was a huge shot, and then I think Sydney [Affolter] gets that layup, get a couple stops on defense that we string together.”

Clark had 38 points and 12 assists as No. 3 Iowa withstood a gritty effort by Maryland, outlasting the Terrapins 93-85 on Saturday night. The Terps rallied from an 18-point third-quarter deficit, but Clark and the Hawkeyes had enough answers down the stretch.

The Hawkeyes (21-2, 10-1 Big Ten) won at Maryland for the first time since December 1992, when the Terrapins were in the ACC.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been happy in this press room,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said afterward.

Clark now needs 66 points to pass Kelsey Plum atop the NCAA career scoring list for women’s basketball.

Molly Davis scored 17 points for Iowa, and Kate Martin had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

“Caitlin did natural Caitlin things, which are spectacular, but I thought Molly Davis really had a great game as well,” Bluder said.

A packed crowd of 17,950 in College Park had clearly come to watch Clark — but most of the fans were also cheering for the Terrapins. Maryland went on a 23-3 run to take a two-point lead in the third. Clark even shot an air ball from the left wing, to the delight of the crowd.

“I didn’t expect them to shrink an 18-point lead in about four minutes, but we fouled too much,” Clark said.

The Terrapins were up 65-63 before the Hawkeyes outscored them 10-1 the rest of the quarter. Clark made a 3-pointer and a layup and assisted on two layups during that run.

Maryland, struggling through an unusually tough season that has them on the NCAA tournament bubble, kept it close in the fourth. It was tied at 76 before Clark freed herself with that smooth pump fake and connected from 3-point range. She then fed Affolter for a layup, and Maryland could never pull even again.

“This game felt like March,” Terrapins coach Brenda Frese said. “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.”

Clark would have finished with an even 40 points if she hadn’t missed a wide-open layup on a breakaway in the final minute, but with Iowa comfortably ahead, she could afford to smile after that.

After Clark began the game with a 3-pointer, Maryland ran off the next 11 points to take an early lead, and the Iowa star was called for a couple traveling violations.

The Terrapins (12-10, 4-7) couldn’t keep Clark under control for long though. A particularly deep 3-pointer from the left wing — beyond former Maryland men’s coach Gary Williams’ signature on the court — capped a 14-2 run by Iowa. She made four of her seven 3-pointers in the opening quarter.

Clark did her damage inside the arc in the second quarter, including a spin move for a three-point play. Iowa led 52-38 at halftime.

She now has 3,462 points. Plum scored 3,527. Former Kansas star Lynette Woodard holds the women’s major college basketball record with 3,649 points from 1978-81 — before the NCAA took over women’s sports from the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.

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