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No. 1 seed Iowa faced off against No. 8 seed West Virginia in a women’s NCAA Tournament second-round game, with Caitlin Clark scoring 32 points to lead the Hawkeyes to a 64-54 victory. Despite one of their worst offensive performances of the season, Iowa managed to secure the win and advance to the Albany 2 Regional semifinal. Sydney Affolter’s three-point play late in the game proved crucial, with Clark and Hannah Stuelke sealing the victory with free throws. Clark, who became the Division I all-time scoring leader this season, celebrated her final home game with a heart-shaped gesture to the sellout crowd.

As the final buzzer sounded, Clark’s milestone of breaking the single-season Division I scoring record was acknowledged after hitting two free throws late in the game. Despite coming into the game as the nation’s top scoring team at 92.8 points per game, Iowa struggled with their offense and shot just 36.4% from the field. Affolter contributed 13 points, while Stuelke added 12 points and 11 rebounds in a game that ultimately highlighted the team’s resilience and experience in overcoming challenges.

While Iowa initially seemed to have control after an 8-0 run in the third quarter, West Virginia mounted a comeback with a 10-0 run of their own in the fourth quarter to tie the game. The tense final minutes showcased the defensive prowess of both teams, with Iowa leading by just two points at halftime in a low-scoring affair marked by scoring droughts and strong defensive play on both ends of the court. The game was a defensive battle from the start, with both teams struggling to find consistent scoring opportunities in a tightly contested matchup.

JJ Quinerly led West Virginia with 15 points, while Kyah Watson and Jayla Hemingway added 13 and 10 points, respectively. Despite the loss, West Virginia put up a strong fight against the top-seeded Iowa team, showcasing their own defensive skills and offensive capabilities throughout the game. The challenging matchup highlighted the talent and determination of both teams as they battled for a spot in the next round of the tournament, with Iowa ultimately coming out on top with a hard-fought victory in front of their home crowd.

Looking ahead, Iowa will face a tough challenge against No. 5 seed Colorado in the upcoming Albany 2 Regional semifinal, with both teams expected to bring their best to the court in a bid to advance further in the tournament. With Clark leading the way and the team’s experience shining through in tight situations, the Hawkeyes will look to build on their performance against West Virginia and continue their quest for a deep tournament run. The win against West Virginia served as a test of Iowa’s resilience and composure under pressure, setting the stage for an exciting matchup ahead against Colorado in the next round of the NCAA Tournament.

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