BUFFS

Caitlin Clark’s Hawkeyes steamroll Buffs in Sweet 16 again

Mar 30, 2024, 3:48 PM

Caitlin Clark...

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

For the second straight season, the biggest star in college basketball has ended the Colorado Buffaloes season as Caitlin Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes are going to the Elite 8. Last year the Hawkeyes beat the Buffs by 10 in the Sweet 16, this year it wasn’t nearly as close as CU fell behind big early and never recovered for an 89-68 rout.

The Buffs came out of the game forcing Clark’s teammates to beat the Buffaloes. They succeeded in putting two early fouls on the reigning Player of the Year and taxing Iowa’s second-best player Kate Martin with two fouls as well. But the whistle didn’t matter much, nor did Clark miss her first four threes. She had six assists in the first quarter and dished out 15 in the game to go along with 29 points, for the all-time leading scorer in college hoops history. And Colorado couldn’t ever put an early third foul onto Clark, which would’ve given Iowa serious foul trouble.

CU struggled to hit threes, going 8-for-29, and didn’t capitalize on Iowa’s turnovers. The Buffaloes biggest advantage, which was on the glass, was negated to the point where the Hawkeyes won that battle and Iowa survived any and all gameplans Colorado had. Between a down offense and an Iowa offense just waiting to breakthrough, the game was a powderkeg for the blowout it ended up being.

It was Colorado’s (24-10) third-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and second run into the Sweet 16, echoing the program’s past successes of nearly two decades ago under Ceal Berry. Though JR Payne will now have to rebuild for an Elite 8 breakthrough as most of these Buffs are out of eligibility. On top of that, the Buffaloes roam back to the Big 12 which will bring new challenges and a weaker women’s hoops conference for Colorado. Berry coached Colorado to three Elite 8 trips.

Colorado was the lone team in the Sweet 16 without a top-50-ranked recruit and finished the season 3-4 against teams that went that far or further in March Madness. Saturday will mark the end of the season but also the college careers of All-Pac-12 players Jaylyn Sherrod and Quay Miller while all-time school three-point shooting leader Frida Formann, as well as fellow shooter Maddie Nolan, are likely done on campus as well as big Charlotte Whittaker.

Iowa now meets LSU for a rematch of last year’s title game in the Elite 8 on Monday.

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