Hannah Stuelke drops 47, Caitlin Clark within 39 points of scoring record as No. 2 Iowa tops Penn St

Hannah Stuelke scored a career-high 47 points, and Caitlin Clark had 27 points as No. 2 Iowa defeated Penn State 111-93

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Hannah Stuelke scored a career-high 47 points and Caitlin Clark added 27 points in her quest for the scoring record as No. 2 Iowa defeated Penn State 111-93 on Thursday night.

Clark now has 3,489 career points and needs just 39 more to break the NCAA women's basketball career scoring record held by Kelsey Plum.

“We were just trying to win the game,” said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder when asked about Clark's pursuit of the record. “It's going to happen. That's not important. It's important to win this game.”

Iowa plays at Nebraska on Sunday before hosting Michigan next Thursday,

“I would rather she break it at home,” Bluder said. “Our fans deserve that. But believe me, our No. 1 priority will be to win the game at Nebraska.”

Clark, who was 8 of 23 from the field, had 15 assists for her 56th career double-double. She also committed a career-high 12 turnovers.

Although Clark wasn't made available in the postgame press conference, she told the Big Ten Network regarding the scoring record: “Whenever it happens, it happens. We've got a good Nebraska team (next), so we'll be ready for them."

Against Penn State, Clark made sure to get the ball inside to Stuelke, providing 11 assists on her teammate's 17 field goals on 20 attempts.

“I'm happy for Hannah, she deserves it,” Clark said. “We just gotta keep it rolling.”

Clark had a message for Stuelke when she left the court. “She said, ‘I expect you do this every game,’” Stuelke said, laughing.

Stuelke registered the second-highest scoring game in program history. Megan Gustafson, who plays for the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, scored 48 points against Minnesota in 2018. Clark’s career high is 46 points against Michigan in 2022.

A 6-foot-2 sophomore, Stuelke went 13 of 21 from the free-throw line. She came into the game averaging 12.7 points.

“I think my confidence is going to come up a lot,” she said. “Now I can be more aggressive offensively, so that's exciting.”

Stuelke got behind Penn State's defense to get easy baskets.

“Obviously, she's a great rim-runner,” said Penn State coach Carolyn Kieger. “We were switching ball screens, and she continuously rolled down on our guards. She was, obviously, certainly efficient.”

Stuelke credits her track days for quickly getting up the court.

“I just turn and go,” Stuelke said. “I ran track in high school, so I'm pretty fast. Just turn and go, get down there as fast as I can.”

Iowa (22-2, 11-1 Big Ten) won its fourth consecutive game to stay tied with Ohio State at the top of the conference standings.

Ashley Owusu led Penn State (16-7, 7-5) with 18 points. Leilani Kapinus and Makenna Marisa had 12 points.

Clark struggled in the first quarter, picking up two fouls while shooting just 2 of 7 from the field and committing five turnovers.

“I thought our team did a pretty decent job on Caitlin in the first quarter,” Kieger said. “We got her in foul trouble and tried attacking her in the second quarter to get her the third foul, but we never really picked it up.”

Clark hit a 3-pointer that started a 12-3 run early in the second quarter for a 35-30 Iowa lead. The Hawkeyes stayed in front after that, closing the half with a 14-5 run to take a 55-44 advantage at intermission.

Stuelke scored Iowa's first seven points of the second half as the Hawkeyes opened a 68-49 lead with 6:19 to go in the third quarter.

Kate Martin added 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Hawkeyes.

BIG PICTURE

Penn State: The Nittany Lions could have used a road win over a top-5 team to help solidify their NCAA tournament resume. But they couldn’t get away from the Hawkeyes early when Clark was struggling.

Iowa: Clark seemed out of sorts in the first quarter, but settled down when she started making shots in the second quarter. Stuelke helped the Hawkeyes keep pace with the Nittany Lions until Clark got going and continued to dominate Penn State inside in the second half.

UP NEXT

Penn State: At Wisconsin on Sunday.

Iowa: At Nebraska on Sunday.

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AP women's college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball

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