IOWA CITY — Nebraska women's basketball forward Isabelle Bourne was determined to keep the Huskers within reach of Iowa. She scored six points in the last 2:30 of the third quarter to give the Huskers a 60-58 lead heading into the fourth.
Despite her efforts, Nebraska fell to Iowa 83-75 in a close game that came down to Caitlin Clark’s 19 fourth-quarter points and free throw opportunities.
“We knew Caitlin Clark would try to really establish herself there in the fourth quarter,” coach Amy Williams said in a postgame radio interview. “We wanted to try to limit touches, and I thought she got a few too many opportunities to get to the free-throw line.”
Clark completed 8 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter, and the Hawkeyes went 14 of 15 at the line.
Ashley Scoggin led the Huskers with 17 points and was 3 of 4 from behind the arc. Sam Haiby scored 14 points, and Kate Cain added 12 points and six rebounds. Bourne earned 13 points.
McKenna Warnock had 12 points and five rebounds. Gabbie Marshall sank 4 of 5 3-pointers for 14 points.
Nebraska committed turnovers on its first two possessions on the game. Two points off a turnover and two 3s from Marshall and Clark gave Iowa a 10-2 led with 6:52 left in the first quarter. But Ruby Porter drained a 3, and Bourne and Scoggin each followed up with a layup as Nebraska fought back.
Cain hit a jumper at the top of the key to send Nebraska into the second quarter ahead 20-18.
A 3 from Annika Stewart and a jumper from Scoggin gave NU its largest lead of the game at 25-18 early in the second quarter. Iowa closed the gap behind Kate Martin and Monika Czinano.
The Hawkeyes ended the half with a nearly two-minute scoring drought, and Nebraska went to the locker room up 37-34.
To start the second half, Bourne and Cain hit back-to-back field goals and Scoggin hit a 3.
With her team down 46-40, Marshall drained a 3. Warnock was fouled taking a 3-point shot and sank all three free throws to tie the game.
“I thought even there early in the third quarter, we came out and attacked a few things and made a few adjustments that we wanted to adjust and executed and scored the ball really well,” Williams said. “It felt like then in the fourth quarter things kind of drew a little bit stagnant.”
The second half remained a one- or two-possession game until NCAA freshman of the year candidate Clark dug even deeper and hit 4 of 5 field goals, went 3 of 4 from behind the arc and added eight points at the foul line.
Nebraska’s shots weren’t falling as it went 5 of 16 in the fourth quarter.
“When you have a stretch where maybe you get the shots you want to but they don't go in, that's when you need to dig deeper defensively and lock down and find a way to commit and try to take away what the other team is going to try to do,” Williams said. “which we knew it was going to be go to Caitlin Clark, and we didn't do that during that stretch, and it cost us.”
Clark dominated with a career-high 39 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in Iowa’s 88-81 victory in Lincoln on Feb. 11.
Bella Cravens, Nebraska’s leading rebounder, played 13 minutes against Iowa after returning from an ankle injury. She added four points and six rebounds.
The Huskers locked down their spot as the No. 8 seed in the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament and will play Minnesota on Wednesday at 10 a.m. on BTN.