Monika Czinano added 22 points for Iowa (16-4, 8-1 Big Ten).
Iowa’s 12-point lead almost midway through the third quarter narrowed as slim as three with 9:05 left in the fourth. Ohio State’s Cotie McMahon scored five of her 21 points in the final quarter, but Czinano went 3 for 3 in the fourth quarter to help keep the Buckeyes at bay.
“I think we were together the whole game,” Clark said. “They went on their runs. We were changing defenses. We weren’t able to score there for a little bit in the third quarter. And I thought we really stepped up and showed our maturity, and that’s what it’s going to take not only in the Big Ten but when you get into the NCAA Tournament.”
The Hawkeyes kept Ohio State scoreless for more than 2 1/2 minutes in the fourth quarter, allowing Czinano and Iowa to command a 13-point advantage with 3:11 remaining.
Ohio State (19-1, 8-1) gave one more try and went 4 of 9 from the field in the final three minutes, but the Hawkeyes made all eight attempts at the free throw line to seal the win.
“They came in just wanting to have that warrior, even mentality, and I thought we did that,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “I could just name person after person. They all did a great job, and I’m really proud of them. This is a big win.”
Ohio State shot 38%, its worst in five games, and 16% from 3-point range, its lowest mark of the season. Taylor Thierry scored 20 points and had nine rebounds.
“I don’t think that we were asking anybody to do anything that they weren’t capable of doing, but we just didn’t make a lot of shots,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “You’re not going to beat Iowa the way they were guarding us if that was the case.”
Clark’s 28 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds helped her become the second Division I male or female to notch a triple-double against an AP top 2 opponent since 1999-2000, joining Dwyane Wade who did so during the men's NCAA Tournament in 2002-03.
It marked the eighth triple-double of Clark’s career.
“I don’t need to score 30 points every night. It’s the 25 and 10 and 10 that really helps us be super, super successful because that means we have multiple people contributing,” Clark said. “You’re guarding everybody on the floor. You’re guarding people off the bench. And that’s the recipe for success if you want to be an NCAA champion.”
Without McKenna Warnock, who didn’t play after starting the first 19 games of the season and is Iowa’s third-leading scorer, the Hawkeyes relied on others stepping up.
Kate Moore contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds, Hannah Stuelke grabbed 13 rebounds and Czinano went 11 of 13 from the field. Czinano was a perfect 4 of 4 while nearing foul trouble in the second half.
ONE FOR THE BOOKS
Iowa’s victory is its highest-ranked win in program history.
“That one hasn’t sunk in yet,” Bluder said. “These women are so amazing. I’m so proud of them. It’ll probably settle in tomorrow, and then we got to get ready for Nebraska.”
Iowa: Turnovers remained an issue for the No. 2 scoring offense in the NCAA even after the Hawkeyes gave it away a season-high 20 times last time out against Michigan State in overtime Wednesday. Iowa had 17 giveaways against Ohio State’s press defense, including 11 in the second half.
Ohio State: The 19-game, season-opening win streak came to a close. The Buckeyes entered 4-0 against Top 25 opponents this season, and the challenge won’t slow as their next matchup will be with a top 10 conference foe.
“One of the things I told them, I was like, ‘Outside of tonight, I think for the most part we’ve handled winning fine — now you got to handle losing,’” McGuff said.
Iowa: Hosts Nebraska on Saturday.
Ohio State: Travels to No. 6 Indiana on Thursday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll