IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP)As Caitlin Clark struggled to make shots, she focused on other things she could do for No. 8 Iowa.
Clark had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for her second career triple-double, McKenna Warnock had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and the Hawkeyes beat Southern 87-67 on Wednesday night.
”For me, it’s important to find other ways to impact the game,” Clark said. ”Any time you get a triple-double it’s pretty special. Definitely pretty challenging.”
Clark had a hard time getting open in the half-court offense because of the physical play of Southern, so her goal was to get Iowa’s transition game going by chasing rebounds.
”I think I see the ball off the rim pretty well,” Clark said. ”I could probably box out better than I do, but I think I see the ball well. More than anything, I want the ball in my hands to push into our transition right away, rather than having an outlet (pass), because that’s when our transition is best.”
The sophomore guard who was an Associated Press preseason All-American shot 2 for 9 from the field – including 1 for 6 on 3-pointers – but made 11 of 12 free throws.
”That is very special,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. ”That’s really hard to get. Really hard to get. And for her to get it in 29 minutes of play is spectacular.”
Monika Czinano added 16 points and seven rebounds, and Tomi Taiwo scored 12 for the Hawkeyes (4-0). Czinano, who led the nation in field-goal percentage last season, was 6 of 8 from the field despite going scoreless in the first quarter.
Warnock, who opened the game with a 3-pointer, had eight points in Iowa’s 14-3 run over the first 3:05 of the game. Warnock had four offensive rebounds among her seven rebounds in the second half, responding to a challenge Bluder gave her at halftime.
”We just knew we didn’t show our best half (in the first half),” said Warnock, who got the 10th double-double of her career. ”At halftime, Coach Bluder was hard on us, as she should be.”
Genovea Johnson led Southern (0-3) with 19 points. Kayla Watson had 12 points and Nakia Kincey had 10.
The Jaguars were called for 29 fouls and Iowa was 33 for 38 on free throws. Clark drew 11 of the fouls.
”I think the game would have been pretty close if we weren’t making free throws like we should have been,” Clark said. ”That’s where most of our points came, especially in the first half.”
”Thank goodness for the free-throw line,” Bluder said. ”We got there a lot, and we made a lot. It’s one thing to get there, it’s another thing to make them. And we made them.”
Iowa led 33-21 at the end of the first quarter and 55-37 at halftime. The Hawkeyes have had an average halftime lead of 20.5 points in the first four games.
ONE AWAY FROM 800
Bluder picked up her 799th career win. Bluder, in her 22nd season at Iowa, can become the 14th NCAA Division I coach to reach 800 wins on Sunday against Drake. Bluder was Drake’s coach for 10 seasons before coming to Iowa.
”I spent 10 years there,” Bluder said. ”That’s a decade of your life. I kind of wish it was going to be against someone else, to be honest.”
Southern’s physical play never let the Hawkeyes get into an offensive rhythm. Turnovers continue to be a problem for Iowa, which has had 66 over the first four games. The Hawkeyes had 18 in this game. Iowa was just 6 of 23 on 3-pointers, 1 of 15 in the second half.
”This is a team that was hard to play because you either scored on transition or you got fouled,” Bluder said. ”And there was no rhythm to the game.”
Southern: At Iowa State on Sunday.
Iowa: Hosts Drake on Sunday.