Preview: Battle for Iowa


Caitlin Clark hopes to soar past Iowa State again. | Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Top 15 teams from the same state clash on Wednesday in what’s set up to be an exciting midweek matchup. Sophomore phenom and triple-double threat Caitlin Clark leads the Iowa Hawkeyes. Senior leader and scoring machine Ashley Joens leads the Iowa State Cyclones.

The in-state rivalry between No. 12 Iowa and No. 15 Iowa State is as healthy as ever, with both teams entering Wednesday’s game with just one loss. Last year when these two team faced off, we got a classic. The game ended 82-80, with the Hawkeyes squeaking out the victory against the Cyclones. Both Caitlin Clark and Ashley Joens put on a show scoring 34 and 35 points, respectively.

@CaitlinClark22 averaged 23.0 points, 10.0 assists, 9.5 rebounds in two games last week.

That’s good, right? | #Hawkeyes

— Iowa Women’s Basketball (@IowaWBB) December 6, 2021

If the Hawkeyes want to come out victorious again, they’ll need another big game from Clark. She’s not only the team’s heart and soul, but also its most dominant player averaging 22 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game. The team goes where she goes, so a big game from its top guard is needed.

No boards, no rings. The Hawkeyes struggled against No. 19 Duke in this category, being outrebounded 45-35, and, surprise, they lost. If the Hawkeyes can’t win the battle on the boards or at least make the deficit negligible, they’ll likely lose to the Cyclones. This is Iowa’s biggest test of the season so far, and it’ll need to bring its best game if it doesn’t want to lose two of three.

The Cyclones are legit. They are 8-1 and minus their one loss against LSU and a close win over UMass they’ve been dominating their opponents. In their past three games, they’re shooting 36.1 percent from three and outrebounding opponents 123-102.

️No. 15 Iowa State previews tomorrow’s matchup against No. 12 Iowa. #Cyclones

️ ️

— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneWBB) December 7, 2021

Ashley Joens is as good as ever. She’s leading the team in both points and rebounds and continuing her dominance as a Cheryl Miller Award watch list member. Similar to the Hawkeyes, this will be the Cyclones’ biggest test thus far.

Game Information

No. 15 Iowa State (8-1, 0-0 Big 12) vs. No. 12 Iowa (5-1, 0-0 Big 10)

When: Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: James H. Hilton Coliseum in Ames, IA

How to watch: ESPNU

Key to the matchup: The rebounding battle will be huge for both teams and the team to win that battle will likely win the game. Last year when these teams faced off we got a classic between Clark and Joens, so it’ll be interesting to see if this year is more of the same. The Cylcones are a good 3-point shooting team and they’ll be looking to take as many threes as possible in this game. The Hawkeyes will have to protect the perimeter.

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