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Iowa’s Caitlin Clark scores 32 but fouls out late in narrow loss

Caitlin Clark (Joseph Cress/USA TODAY Sports)

Caitlin Clark starred again for No. 12 Iowa women’s basketball, but even her 32 points could not power the Hawkeyes (11-4) to a road win Sunday against unranked Illinois (13-2).

Clark scored 16 of her points in the fourth quarter, shooting 5-for-6 from the floor and 4-for-5 from 3-point range. But the star junior fouled out with 19 seconds left, and Iowa’s comeback attempt fell short in the 90-86 loss.

Illinois had not beaten Iowa in its last seven tries. And the Illini had not beaten a ranked opponent on their home court at State Farm Center since 2015. That changed Sunday.

“I think Illinois is such an improved basketball team and sometimes you have to see it to believe it,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said after the game. “We could see it on film, but I think our players didn’t realize just how good they were until that second quarter, when they just took over the game.”

Even though she fouled out late, Clark played 37 minutes, and she contributed five rebounds and seven assists in addition to her game-leading 32 points.

Iowa’s pair of senior forwards also contributed: Monika Czinano had 24 points and six rebounds, and McKenna Warnock had 17 points and six rebounds.

Yet depth remains an issue for the Hawkeyes. Their bench scored just four points, all courtesy of freshman Hannah Stuelke.

In last year’s NCAA tournament, lack of depth doomed No. 2 seed Iowa in a second-round loss to to No. 10 seed Creighton. The Hawkeyes will need to solve that problem if they want to make a deeper run this March.

Next up, Iowa travels to face No. 14 Michigan at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday in another Big Ten battle.