Caitlin Clark and Iowa put on an offensive clinic in the Big Ten tournament championship game in Minneapolis on Sunday.
Clark recorded her 10th triple-double with 30 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds in the Hawkeyes’ 105-72 win over Ohio State. It was the first triple-double ever in the final of the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament.
“It is a special accomplishment,” Clark said. “But I truly mean it doesn’t happen without every single person in the locker room. So, I’m thankful for them.”
By halftime of Iowa’s win, Clark had tallied 23 points, nine assists and five rebounds. The junior said she knew she needed one more rebound in order to record the triple-double. So, with under seven minutes to go in the game, she says she “turned on the jets” to snag her 10th rebound.
First player to score a triple-double in a #B1GWBBT Championship Game: Caitlin Clark. @CaitlinClark22 x @IowaWBB pic.twitter.com/7u5YgH7v20— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 5, 2023
First player to score a triple-double in a #B1GWBBT Championship Game: Caitlin Clark. @CaitlinClark22 x @IowaWBB pic.twitter.com/7u5YgH7v20
On top of the triple-double, Clark also became the first Division I player in the last 20 years to record 30 points and at least 15 assists in a game.
For Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder, Sunday’s performance cements Clark’s status as Player of the Year.
“Spectacular,” Bluder said. “Seventeen assists and two turnovers? I don’t know how you can say she’s not the Player of the Year in this country.”
“I get to see incredible stuff every day in practice,” she continued. “She continues to surprise us. But when she got that last rebound and she raced down the court with the biggest grin on her face, like that’s joy. To be able to play like that is so much fun, and I admire her for that. She’s so competitive, but she loves the game so much.”
Clark’s stardom extends beyond the state of Iowa. While Iowa fans turned out for the Big Ten tournament, with the 9,505 in attendance for the championship game setting a new Big Ten record, fans from opposing schools also pushed to the bottom rows of the arena after the game to get a photo or an autograph from Clark.
“It’s been amazing how much she is growing this game. … She embraces that part of the game,” Bluder told reporters Sunday. “She understands her responsibility in that. To me, she’s the face of women’s basketball across the United States.”
Iowa’s 33-point win was the most dominant in Big Ten tournament title game history. Their 105 points also set a new record, besting the 104 points Maryland scored against the Hawkeyes in 2021.
With the victory, Iowa claimed its second consecutive Big Ten tournament championship and its fifth overall.