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Nebraska stuns Iowa, keeps Caitlin Clark shy of record

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA - FEBRUARY 11: Alexis Markowski #40 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers celebrates a score as Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes looks on in the second half at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 11, 2024 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

A potential record-setting day ended much differently than some expected, with the Nebraska Cornhuskers upsetting No. 2 Iowa at home 82-79.

It came on a day when many expected Caitlin Clark to break the women’s NCAA scoring record – including record-holder Kelsey Plum, who sent out a premature congratulatory tweet. Instead, Clark became the first player to hit 3,000 points and 1,000 assists in a career, but remains 8 points shy of Plum’s mark.

Clark’s 31 points were not enough to stave off a Nebraska upset before a sellout crowd of 15,042. It was the first time in Clark’s career that Iowa has lost to Nebraska, and the first time that she hasn’t scored in a fourth quarter in the regular season, going 0-for-6.

The win also ended Nebraska’s nine-game losing streak to Iowa, with their last win against the Hawkeyes coming in 2019.

“We just didn’t execute down the stretch,” Clark said, “and that stinks.”

Even still, she said Sunday that there’s “no reason to freak out.”

“Knowing our goals are still intact, there’s no reason to freak out,” Clark said after Sunday’s loss. “There’s no reason to get down on yourselves. We can we still control our destiny; that’s all that matters. Maybe it’s a good reset for our team to be able to look in the mirror and find ways to get better.”

Hitting the 1,000 assist milestone is still something Clark takes “a lot of pride in.”

“I want to be able to set my teammates up and hopefully in return that makes my life a little easier, too, of getting my spots,” she continued. “An assist doesn’t come without my teammate finishing the ball and obviously I played with a lot of really good players over the past four years.”

The Iowa star also credited Nebraska for their defensive changes in the fourth quarter, which helped them overcome a 12-point deficit.

“They changed defenses. I’m really surprised, against the box-and-one, that we didn’t score better,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder, who went viral for a postgame rant in the hallway, said. “We kind of got stagnant in that situation. It’s easy to [defend] when you’re just standing there. That’s my fault. I’ve got to make them [move].”

“You can’t get too caught up in one loss,” Clark said. “All everybody needs right now is a boost of confidence, and I know I can give it to them.”