Caitlin Clark’s march to record delayed, but she’s focused on team goals-ZoomTech News

LINCOLN, Nebraska — On the brilliant facet, Caitlin Clark will turn into the NCAA’s new all-time main scorer in entrance of a house crowd later this week, simply as a fairy story or Hollywood script might need supposed.

She’s solely eight factors shy of passing Kelsey Plum and her 3,527 factors within the file books. And on condition that Clark leads the nation in scoring with 32.2 factors per sport, that feat appears fairly doable someday within the first half when No. 2 Iowa hosts Michigan on Thursday evening.

[Caitlin Clark top moments: Chasing record]

However Clark may have made historical past on Tremendous Bowl Sunday. As an alternative, Iowa suffered its third lack of the season when unranked Nebraska pulled off an 82-79 upset at a sold-out Pinnacle Financial institution Enviornment. 

Some followers stormed the court docket, celebrating one of many greatest wins in program historical past in opposition to a workforce led by a generational star and future No. 1 WNBA draft choose. After reeling off 31 factors via three quarters, Clark went silent within the fourth, going 0-for-6 from the sector, because the Huskers mounted a comeback. It was the primary time Clark performed a whole fourth quarter and failed to attain.

“Our objectives are nonetheless intact,” Clark mentioned. 

She would not care concerning the scoring file as a lot as she cares about serving to her workforce win the Large Ten, getting again to the Remaining 4 and successful the nationwide championship this time.

“I imply, it is not likely on my thoughts proper now,” Clark mentioned of the historical past she’s about to make. “I simply suppose getting higher and getting again house and taking part in in entrance of our followers and executing the best way we all know we are able to execute. I feel it is necessary for this workforce.”

Whereas there may be theories floating round that the Hawkeyes (22-3, 11-2) had been targeted on ensuring Clark broke the file in Iowa Metropolis and never in Lincoln or anyplace else, it isn’t like Clark was actively attempting to not rating within the fourth quarter. Nebraska modified its defensive sport plan to a box-and-one, dedicating Kendall Moriarty to taking Clark away to hopefully sluggish issues down.

It doesn’t matter what Clark did — her motion on and off the ball is among the extra mesmerizing issues in sports activities lately — Moriarty stayed on her project and prevented Clark from being harmful.

And from breaking the file. Clark entered the fourth quarter needing to solely rating eight factors and could not do it.

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark tallies 31 factors and 10 assists in loss at Nebraska

Iowa's Caitlin Clark tallies 31 points and 10 assists in loss at Nebraska

She was visibly pissed off after the buzzer sounded and mentioned that form of protection is one thing the Hawkeyes have practiced earlier than, although not just lately.

“We must always have been prepared for it,” Clark mentioned. “We must always have executed our offense higher. Now we have the performs. Now we have offense that we should always have been operating. We simply did not execute. We did not get into our spots. We did not minimize into the paint.

“Properly be prepared for it [next time].”

The Hawkeyes led by as many as 14 factors late within the third quarter. However within the fourth, anytime Iowa made a play or hit a monstrous shot, Nebraska (16-8, 8-5) responded with considered one of its personal. Particularly Jaz Shelley, who led her workforce with 23 factors, 10 of which got here within the closing 10 minutes. Maybe no different bucket was as clutch as when she hit a 3 with 30.2 seconds left to present the Huskers a 78-77 lead, their first of the sport. The raucous crowd rose to its toes and Shelley hit the “you possibly can’t see me,” waving her hand over her face, like Clark has completed occasionally.

Iowa by no means took the lead once more. Though the atmosphere was ripe for it. The world, which seats 15,500 at capability, was full of Hawkeyes followers who waited in line in 30-degree temperatures for blocks earlier than they might get inside. As soon as they did, “Let’s Go Hawks!” chants rang early and sometimes.

“That is unreal” – Jaz Shelley after Nebraska’s big win

"This is unreal" – Jaz Shelley after Nebraska's huge win

There have been a number of rows of photographers and TV cameras behind every basket. Clark’s No. 22 was seen in every single place — on jerseys and T-shirts, on adults and on youngsters. Intelligent posters had been as in style as friendship bracelets at a Taylor Swift live performance. One little boy made a scoring countdown on his, a teenage woman by some means connected Christmas lights to the border of hers, and a younger woman carrying a Clark T-shirt minimize a yellow poster board right into a coronary heart and wrote “#22 will you be my valentine?”

It felt like an Iowa house sport. And if Clark had scored the 39 factors she wanted coming into this matchup to interrupt Plum’s file, she would have been celebrated accordingly. She had greater than 20 family and friends members in attendance, too.

“Popping out and seeing extra yellow at first, form of scary whenever you’re at house,” Nebraska heart Alexis Markowski mentioned. “We took it as a problem. We knew we had been underdogs on this scenario and gave it our all and got here out on high.”

Nebraska gamers mentioned afterward that they did not know what number of factors Clark wanted to attain and weren’t motivated by it. Clark mentioned the scoring file hasn’t been a distraction and appeared uncomfortable speaking about it, extra so after a loss.

Nebraska places on a defensive clinic throughout the closing possession

Nebraska puts on a defensive clinic during the final possession

“It hasn’t been a distraction in any respect,” Clark mentioned emphatically. “It’s what it’s. It is what comes with the territory. When it occurs, it occurs. Actually not gonna have an effect on my life that a lot.”

That is as a result of Clark is zoned in on workforce objectives, not particular person ones — despite the fact that together with her 31 factors and 10 assists Sunday, she turned the primary males’s or ladies’s participant in Division I historical past to succeed in 3,000 factors and 1,000 assists. Clark smiled when that nugget was delivered to her consideration, however rapidly introduced it again to her teammates. 

“I imply, clearly, it’s going to be particular, however I feel the most important focus proper now could be simply discovering methods to develop, discovering methods to get higher, as a result of that is one other case of us blowing one other lead, and that is one thing that has to cease, and we simply may have executed higher,” Clark mentioned.

“That is my major focus proper now.”

Extra on Caitlin Clark chasing the all-time Division I scoring file:

Laken Litman covers school soccer, school basketball and soccer for FOX Sports activities. She beforehand wrote for Sports activities Illustrated, USA Right now and The Indianapolis Star. She is the creator of “Robust Like a Girl,” printed in spring 2022 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX. Comply with her on Twitter @LakenLitman.

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