No. 5 Iowa cruises past Florida Gulf Coast
ESTERO, Fla. (AP) — Caitlin Clark scored 21 points, coach Lisa Bluder got her 500th victory at Iowa and the fifth-ranked Hawkeyes had no trouble on the way to beating Florida Gulf Coast 100-62 in the semifinals of the Gulf Coast Showcase on Saturday night.
Iowa (6-1) set a school record with 20 3-pointers. The Hawkeyes will get a rematch with Kansas State for the tournament title on Sunday night; the Wildcats won in Iowa City on Nov. 16, topping the Hawkeyes for the second consecutive season.
Taylor McCabe (6 for 7), Gabbie Marshall (4 for 5) and Sydney Affolter (3 for 3) combined to go 13 for 15 from beyond the arc for the Hawkeyes. McCabe scored a career-high for 18 for Iowa, while Marshall and Affolter each added 12 and Kate Martin finished with 11.
Maca Retamales scored 16 and Dolly Cairns added 13 for Florida Gulf Coast (4-2), which trailed 55-19 at the half.
The Eagles are playing a couple miles from their Fort Myers campus and that, combined with the star power of Iowa, led to a tournament attendance record of 4,257 on Saturday. The previous mark of 3,987 was set on the opening day of the 2014 tournament, when then-defending NCAA champion UConn headlined the field.
Clark played only 25 minutes, getting long stints off the second consecutive night. The 21 points moved her career total to 2,922, passing Joyce Walker (2,906) and then Kelly Mazzante (2,919) for 17th on the all-time Division I scoring list.
And she'll be well-rested for a rematch with Kansas State.
“It'll be fun,” Kansas State guard Serena Sundell said. “Iowa's a good team and we had to fight every possession at their place to get that win. So, I’m just excited to prepare tonight.”
Kansas State got its spot in the final by beating No. 18 North Carolina 63-56 in Saturday's other semifinal. The Tar Heels will face Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday for third place.
It had been exactly 200 games since the Eagles — a mid-major that has reached the second round of the last two NCAA Tournaments and has the best all-time winning percentage of any Division I program in the country — had lost a game by more than 25 points. Florida Gulf Coast lost to Ohio State 104-62 on Nov. 24, 2017; they've gone 176-24 since.
The Hawkeyes were without starting forward Hannah Stuelke, who left Friday's quarterfinal win over Purdue Fort Wayne early in the fourth quarter with a lower right leg injury.
Iowa: Kansas State will try to go 3-0 against the Hawkeyes with Clark in the lineup. Only three opponents — Northwestern, Ohio State and Maryland — have won their first three matchups with Clark and the Hawkeyes.
Florida Gulf Coast: Cairns scored the Eagle's first eight points. It took until Uju Ezeudu's layup with 6:32 left in the second quarter for another Eagle to reach the scorebook — a basket that made the score 37-10.
Clark piles up most stats in bunches. Offensive rebounds are an exception. She rebounded her own miss with 8:46 left in the second quarter — her first offensive rebound since the first round of last season's NCAA Tournament. Before that, her last 71 rebounds were defensive.
Iowa: Faces No. 16 Kansas State in the championship game Sunday.
Florida Gulf Coast: Faces No. 18 North Carolina in the third-place game Sunday.
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