Iowa sends message with defense in rivalry win vs. Iowa State

Caitlin Clark's big game powers Iowa past Iowa State (1:33)

Caitlin Clark tallies 19 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals in Iowa's victory against Iowa State. (1:33)

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- In a battle between state rivals and preseason All-Americans Caitlin Clark and Ashley Joens, the Iowa women's basketball team got a victory Wednesday and answered some defensive questions that plagued the Hawkeyes a week earlier.

The No. 16 Hawkeyes beat the No. 10 Iowa State Cyclones 70-57 in front of 13,802 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Clark, a junior, led Iowa with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while fifth-year senior Joens had 15 points and seven rebounds for Iowa State. Both are Iowa natives -- Joens is from Iowa City and Clark from West Des Moines -- and they played club basketball together.

In three college matchups between the two, Clark is 2-1, winning in 2020 and Wednesday. Joens' Cyclones won at Iowa State last season. The 2020 game was limited mostly to family members because of COVID-19 restrictions.

"We had a comeback win and I was [hyping up] a bunch of cardboard cutouts; one was my dog," Clark joked of the quiet arena in 2020. "It's a lot better this year.

"I didn't grow up a huge Hawkeye or a huge Cyclone; I just love the game of women's basketball. Being able to play in this rivalry ... when you play an in-state rival, it means a little more. It brings a little more emotion out of you."

It also brought a much stronger defensive performance from the 7-3 Hawkeyes, who lost 94-81 last Thursday to then-No. 11 NC State. Clark had 45 points, one shy of her career high, but she and Iowa coach Lisa Bluder criticized the Hawkeyes' defense in the defeat.

On Wednesday, the Hawkeyes held Iowa State to nearly 30 points under the Cyclones' season average (84.3 PPG).

"I think we sent a message to teams across the country of what we can do on the defensive end," Clark said. "It shows what we see in practice every day ... we know we can play great defense. It's just coming into the game and showing we can do it. [The Cyclones] are super skilled, super talented, we had to throw different things at them and that's what we did."

Clark, who is leading Division I in scoring, also said she believes it's better for Iowa when her line is more like Wednesday -- or Sunday's 22 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in beating the Wisconsin Badgers, her seventh career triple-double -- than when she has a 40-point game. Iowa is 2-3 in games in which she has scored 40 or more in her career.

"Probably a lot better," Clark said. "When we have multiple people in double figures, it's really hard to guard."

As for the Cyclones, the Big 12 preseason favorites who fell to 6-2, coach Bill Fennelly said the big rivalry game may have made his players a little more anxious than usual. But he also attributed their struggles -- they shot 36.4% from the field -- to Iowa's defense.

"Our inability to shoot the ball continues to haunt us a little bit," he said. "Losing to a team like that, there's no shame in that. They outplayed us, they deserve it. We've got a lot of work to do, but that's OK. We'll fix it and be better for it."