The way the Indiana women’s basketball locked down Caitlin Clark, Caitlin Clark HEATED With Garzon After She Complains About OBVIOUS Foul (+VIDEO)

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana women’s basketball sophomore guard Lexus Bargesser shadowed Iowa guard Caitlin Clark’s every move.

The nation’s leading scorer was looking for an opening right in front of IU’s bench on Thursday night at Assembly Hall with the shot clock ticking down late in the second quarter. Bargesser didn’t bite on any of the step fakes and kept her hands out wide to prevent Clark from driving to the basket.

Clark ended up throwing a desperate behind the back pass as the shot clock expired. The buzzer drew a standing ovation from the sold out crowd at Assembly Hall

 

“I thought our guys from the jump really got after it defensively,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said, after her team’s 86-69 win. “I thought we made everything very difficult for Caitlin Clark tonight and that’s hard to do. She’s a phenomenal player.”

Bargesser spent much of the second quarter (nine-plus minutes) defending Clark while Chloe Moore-McNeil sat on the bench with three fouls. Moore-McNeil and Sara Scalia were just as locked in when they had the assignment.

More:From Idaho to Bloomington to see Caitlin Clark. ‘It’s great being this close.’

Indiana basketball’s ‘tenacious’ defense throws Caitlin Clark off her game

Clark, who is averaging 32.8 points per game this season, scored Iowa’s first seven points, but nothing came easy for the senior.

She ended up shooting 30.7% from the field (8 of 26) and 18.5% from 3-point range (3 of 16). It was only the third time this season she shot less than 40% and her worst shooting performance from 3-point range in conference play.

Indiana held Clark to four points in the second half on 2 of 13 shooting (0 for 7 from 3-point range). She didn’t score the final 9:33 of the game with Iowa trying to erase a double-digit deficit.

“Very physical,” Clark said, of IU’s defensive approach. “I think that was the main thing. Kind of pushed me off my spots and got me a little deeper than I wanted to be.”

“They were just tenacious,” she later added.

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Indiana women’s basketball coaches scheme up winning game plan against Caitlin Clark

That effort was only part of the reason for IU’s success.

Indiana coach Teri Moren said her staff changed up the game plan they used against Clark earlier this season. Clark scored 30 points with six 3-pointers in a dominant 87-54 victory over the Hoosiers in January.

This time around IU threw different looks at Clark designed to keep her from getting into a rhythm. The Hoosiers switched more on off ball-ball screens, crowded her more and face guarded coming out of a dead ball.

“I’m almost positive they didn’t score off dead balls,” Moren said. “We couldn’t stay completely man-to-man the entire game, we threw out a little bit of a zone there and tried to face guard and make her work.”

It’s why Iowa coach Lisa Bluder had such an easy time summing up the loss at the start of her post game press conference.

“They had a great game plan that I think frustrated Caitlin at times,” Bluder said.

Michael Niziolek is the Indiana beat reporter for The Bloomington Herald-Times. You can follow him on X @michaelniziolek and read all his coverage by clicking here.

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