LINCOLN, Neb. — The stage was set for Caitlin Clark to break the Division I women's all-time scoring record. Instead, Nebraska busted onto center stage to upset No. 2 Iowa, 82-79, on Sunday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Jaz Shelley hit a 3-pointer from the corner to give Nebraska its first lead, 78-77, with 30.2 seconds on the clock. The Cornhuskers trailed by 14 entering the fourth quarter. Clark, held scoreless in the final frame, missed a deep 3 on the other end and Nebraska corralled the rebound. Shelley added two free throws.
A Hannah Stuelke bucket for Iowa and two more Shelley free throws set up another opportunity for Iowa to tie it. Clark missed her signature step-back 3 attempt, and Kate Martin missed one off the offensive rebound. Nebraska fans stormed the court to celebrate.
Clark entered the day needing 39 points to break the Division I scoring record, a doable task for the Iowa point guard who has plenty of strong scoring days against Nebraska over her four-year career. Though she made a push for it in a 14-point third quarter, she ultimately fell eight points short. She had 31 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. It was a rough day from 3 for her, shooting 5-of-15 and 10-of-25 overall.
The record will almost assuredly be broken Thursday night at home in Iowa City when the Hawkeyes host Michigan. Clark has scored single digits in only one game of her collegiate career and it was game No. 10 as a freshman. She played in her 125th game Sunday.
Instead, it was the incredible court vision coaches and scouts praise that put another milestone marker in Clark’s pocket. With a dish to Martin heading into halftime, Clark became the first to score 3,000 points with 1,000 assists. She is the sixth player to reach the 1,000-assist threshold, joining Suzie McConnell (1,307), Andrea Nagy (1,165), Courtney Vandersloot (1,118), Sabrina Ionescu (1,091) and Tine Freil (1,088).
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Iowa led 39-35 at the break after both teams went on a stronger shooting run in the second quarter. Clark hit her first three 90 seconds into the contest, but missed a couple of early buckets at the rim. Each of her deep 3s in the second quarter drew the loudest roars from Iowa fans packing the arena. And they were each immediately answered by Nebraska, first by Logan Nissley and then Shelley, to the delight of the home crowd.
Shelley led Nebraska with 23 points, shooting 7-of-14 and going 5-of-10 from 3. Alexis Markowski scored 15 and Natalie Potts had 14. The Cornhuskers out-rebounded Iowa 35-30 and scored 17 second-chance points.
Clark scored 17 points with five assists and two rebounds in the first half to draw within 22 points of breaking the record. A massive 14-point third quarter drew the record back in reach. The home game against Michigan had been the likely target until Clark went on a heater and averaged 39 points over a four-game stretch. A 26-point outing at home against Penn State on Thursday night snapped her hot streak.
The pace stalled in the fourth quarter while Nebraska, which trailed 69-55 at the start of the quarter, pulled within a possession in the final minutes. Clark missed a jumper, two 3s and a tough drive in the quarter.