Tournament Highlights: Iowa Women’s Basketball Earns Third Straight Big Ten Title

By Nicole Knoll
Relive the excitement of the sold-out Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament—including Sunday’s dramatic overtime win over Nebraska and all the records broken by the Hawkeyes along the way.
Women's basketball champions PHOTO: HAWKEYESPORTS.COM

Every game was sold-out for the first time in Big Ten women’s basketball tournament history. The “Caitlin Effect” was in full force with a sea of fans in black and gold cheering on the Hawkeyes as they sought to accomplish the program's first title three-peat.

Hawkeye Huddles Bring Hawkeyes Together


Hosted by the I-Club, in partnership with the University of Iowa Center for Advancement’s Office of Alumni Engagement, Hawkeye Huddles were held ahead of both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds at Cowboy Jack’s in downtown Minneapolis. Fans enjoyed a Hawkeye DJ, pep band performances, and special guests—including Beth Goetz, the Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair.

Quarterfinals: Hawkeye Fans Line Up To Cheer, Cheer, Cheer for Iowa


After the two morning games, fans at the Target Center were asked to clear the stands and re-enter through security. They formed a line that went for at least seven city blocks through the downtown Minneapolis skywalks. This led to a black and gold parade of sorts as fans streamed back in to watch the Hawkeyes play their first postseason game of 2024.

Quarterfinals: No. 2 Iowa Defeats No. 7 Penn State, 95-62


It was a total team effort to defeat Penn State as Hawkeyes Gabbie Marshall, Sydney Affolter, and Hannah Stuelke all had outstanding performances. Marshall is now sixth on Iowa’s all-time list for steals and had her third straight game with four 3-pointers. Her performance was so impressive that the announcers were calling her “March”all. Affolter enjoyed a career-high 18 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. Stuelke tallied up the seventh 20-point game of her career.


National Player of the Year candidate Caitlin Clark surpassed Steph Curry’s NCAA men’s single season record for 3-pointers made with 163.

Quarterfinals: No. 1 Ohio State and No. 3 Indiana Fall

It was March Madness during the quarterfinals as No. 8 Maryland upset No. 1 Ohio State (82-61), No. 5 Nebraska beat No. 4 Michigan State (73-61), and No. 6 Michigan took down No. 3 Indiana (69-56).

Semifinals: Hawkeye Fans Turn the Target Center into Carver North

Iowa pride filled the stands for nearly every game of the tournament—even ones where the Hawks weren’t playing. Hawkeye nation showed up in a big way for the country’s best offense, which had put up over 90 points in 12 out of the last 14 games. Multiple I-O-W-A chants broke out during each Hawkeye game.

Semifinals: No. 2 Iowa Drops No. 6 Michigan, 95-68


Hawkeye fans got loud early and stayed loud often as Iowa put on a show at the Target Center—defeating Michigan to advance to the Big Ten Tournament title game for the fifth time in the past six years. During the game, Iowa broke the Big Ten Tournament single game team record for assists with 30.

Clark had her 29th career game with at least 25 points and 10 assists. Since 2009, the next closest player has only done it five times. She also became the Big Ten’s all-time leader in free throws made and is the first Division I college basketball player to record back-to-back 1,000-point seasons. Clark kept her streak alive of 89 consecutive games making a 3-point basket, which is an NCAA best.


“It’s All I Know” to “That’s Just What We Do”

Big Ten Pep Rally


Ahead of the championship game, Hawkeye fans lined up as early as 2:30 a.m. to enter the Target Center. In a show of sportsmanship, the mostly-Iowa crowd greeted and cheered for the Nebraska team as they arrived.

Hawkeye fans, Herky, the Iowa Spirit Squads, and pep band members then welcomed the Iowa team with loud cheers.

Finals: No. 2 Iowa Beats No. 4 Nebraska in Overtime, 94-89


The No. 2 Hawkeyes overcame their largest halftime deficit (11 points) of the year in front of a sold-out Target Center in Minneapolis and beat No. 5 Nebraska in overtime.


For Lisa Bluder, P. Sue Beckwith, MD, Head Women’s Basketball Coach, this was her fifth Big Ten Tournament title (2001, 2019, 2022, 2023, 2024) to tie Maryland head coach Brenda Frese. Bluder also earned a tournament record 32 victories with this title win.

Clark, who was named Big Ten Tournament MVP, proved it’s how you finish—not how you start—as she tallied only four points in the first half, then dug deep to put up 30 in the second half and overtime. Clark set a Big Ten Tournament career record with 112 assists in her 13 tournament games.

Clark is the first Division I men’s or women’s player to record at least 3,700 points, 1,000 assists, and 850 rebounds in a career. She is the only player in the country with at least 1,000 points, 280 assists, and 225 rebounds this season.


Sydney Affolter was named to the Big Ten’s All-Tournament Team.


As a team, Iowa has now made 358 3-pointers—which broke the Big Ten’s single-season record for 3-pointers made in a season. The previous record was 350, which was set by last year’s record-setting team.


Iowa also made 39 3-point baskets during this year’s Big Ten Tournament, which is the most in tournament history.

March Madness isn’t over yet. Go Hawks!

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