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Caitlin Clark plays ‘with fire’ (and foul trouble) in Iowa win


Caitlin Clark finished Iowa’s win Wednesday just one rebound shy of her second triple-double of the season, but it was another statistic that almost changed the outcome of the game.

With five seconds left in the No. 10 Hawkeyes’ 84-81 overtime victory over Michigan State, Clark was whistled for an intentional foul. The call gave the Spartans two free throws and the ball, with a chance to even the score.

The foul took place as Iowa, up 82-79, lined up for an inbounds play. Clark appeared to be fighting for position in a line of players when she raised her arm and made contact with Michigan State guard Kamaria McDaniel. An intentional foul was assessed after officials reviewed the play, which showed Clark’s hand colliding with McDaniel’s face.

McDaniel made the two free throws, but the Spartans turned the ball over on the next possession and Iowa’s Molly Davis went to the line following a foul to secure the victory.

It was a chaotic ending to an intense matchup — and it also was the second time in Iowa’s last three contests that Clark has been whistled for a technical or intentional foul.

The first took place in a 92-64 win over Northwestern on Jan. 11. Clark expressed frustration on the court, and an official assessed her with a technical.

Following that game, Clark explained the moment and her on-court persona.

“It’s kind of frustrating, but that is just how it goes sometimes,” Clark said. “In women’s basketball, people need to play with passion, play with fire. That’s what it’s about, that’s who I am.”

The junior guard, who is averaging 26.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game, has led Iowa to a 15-4 record so far this season. On Wednesday, she finished with 26 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds.

Iowa’s Monika Czinano had 22 points and 7 rebounds against Michigan State before fouling out late in the fourth quarter, and freshman Hannah Stuelke made a difference off the bench, with 7 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals.

Michigan State (10-9) put up a good fight against the No. 10 team in the nation, and McDaniel finished with a team-high 23 points.

Next up, the Hawkeyes have a big matchup with No. 2 Ohio State on Jan. 23. The Buckeyes are undefeated and first in the Big Ten.