No. 6 Iowa women’s basketball needed a bit of late-game magic Sunday against No. 6 Indiana. So the Hawkeyes decided to borrow from the best.
Trailing by 2 points with 1.5 seconds remaining, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder took a page out of the Las Vegas Aces’ WNBA championship playbook to set up Caitlin Clark’s game-winning buzzer-beater, which clinched an 86-85 win over the Hoosiers.
Clark received the in-bounds pass from teammate Kate Martin, then leaned to her right to send up the game-winning 3-pointer. Yet while the shot worked out for Clark and for Iowa, the star junior guard was not the first option on the play.
“That’s a play we work on every single day in practice,” Clark said after the game. “And to be honest, our first look was to get a layup at the rim.”
The Aces used this play to tie the game against the Storm in that instant classic game 3 of last year's semisCaitlin told Holly the first look was for a layup, that's what the Aces got with Jackie Young on the slip screen out of the stagger https://t.co/rpm2iJOH8t pic.twitter.com/Yy73tTDElJ— Calvin Wetzel (@cwetzel31) February 26, 2023
The Aces used this play to tie the game against the Storm in that instant classic game 3 of last year's semisCaitlin told Holly the first look was for a layup, that's what the Aces got with Jackie Young on the slip screen out of the stagger https://t.co/rpm2iJOH8t pic.twitter.com/Yy73tTDElJ
McKenna Warnock slipped into the lane for the would-be layup, but Indiana’s Sydney Parrish stuck with her, which left Clark’s long-range shot as the best option for the Hawkeyes.
The Aces used the same play in Game 3 of their WNBA semifinal series against the Seattle Storm in September, but in their case, the layup worked out.
Storm legend Sue Bird hit a 3-pointer to put her team ahead by 2 points with less than 2.9 seconds remaining. Then 2022 Most Improved Player Jackie Young scored a layup as time expired to push the game to overtime, and the Aces took over from there. Las Vegas grabbed a 110-98 win in overtime, then wrapped up the series in Game 4 and went on to win their first WNBA title.