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Iowa takes page from Aces’ playbook for game-winner against Indiana


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.”

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.