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Clark has double-double as No. 1 seed Iowa defeats Holy Cross, 91-65

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Caitlin Clark is a self-admitted perfectionist.

So when things weren't going her way early in No. 1 seed Iowa's NCAA Tournament opener she got frustrated.

The unanimous All-American finished with 27 points and 10 assists on an off-shooting night as the Hawkeyes defeated Holy Cross 91-65 in a women's NCAA tournament first-round game Saturday.

She was just 8 of 19 from the field, 3 of 9 in 3-pointers, showing her frustration with missed shots multiple times during the game. She was constantly complaining to officials and at one point cameras caught her dad Brent telling her to stop.

Clark seemed to get the message.

“I should probably smile more. I’m a competitor,” said Clark, who even head-butted the basketball during the game in frustration. “I love this game. I’m a perfectionist. But hey, I’m competitive. I want to win and I want our team to play our best basketball.”

Clark finished with her 65th career double-double, and added eight rebounds.

Clark struggled early, not making her first field goal until 22 seconds were left in the first quarter. She committed five turnovers in the first eight minutes, and also got popped in the nose on what was ruled an intentional foul on Holy Cross' Bronagh Power-Cassidy.

“It was kind of just a stinger to the nose,” Clark said. “Honestly, I'm totally OK.”

Iowa had its own slow start. The Hawkeyes had a 10-0 run midway through the first quarter that didn’t bother the Crusaders, who were within 23-21 at the end of the quarter.

Iowa hadn't played since winning the Big Ten Tournament championship on March 10, and coach Lisa Bluder said the long layoff was apparent.

“I think in the first quarter we showed a little rust,” Bluder said.

Kate Martin also had a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (30-4), who advanced to Monday’s second round to face either eighth-seed West Virginia or ninth-seed Princeton.

“I think we had to knock some rust off,” Martin said. “I think we knew what we needed to do, and that was (play) defense.”

The Hawkeyes then outscored Holy Cross 25-9 in the second quarter, holding the Crusaders to just 1 of 12 shooting. Clark finally got her first 3-pointer with 3:26 left in the first half, shaking her head and rolling her eyes after making the shot.

“Our 3-point defense was really good, and that's a key for us,” Bluder said.

“We really started running our offense in the second quarter,” said Clark, who had just one turnover over the final three quarters.

The Hawkeyes' biggest lead was 84-53 with 4 1/2 minutes to play.

Holy Cross (21-13) made 12 3-pointers in Thursday’s 72-45 First Four win over UT-Martin, but were just 7 of 34 in 3-pointers in this game, with only three in the second half. The Crusaders, who missed their first 10 shots of the fourth quarter, shot just 32.4% from the field.

Holy Cross coach Maureen Magarity said her team wasn't affected by playing in front of a sellout crowd of 14,324.

“I just can't put into words how proud I was of our fight,” Magarity said. “We were trying to take it to them. We really were.”

Addison O’Grady, who was 7 of 9 from the field, had 14 points for Iowa, with Gabbie Marshall adding 11 points. Iowa had a 50-37 rebounding edge despite starting forward Hannah Stuelke, the team's second leading rebounder, playing just 10 minutes.

“She didn't feel well,” Bluder said of Stuelke, who missed both shots she took and had just two rebounds. “And it wasn't worth having her out there if we didn't need her.”

Power-Cassidy had 19 points for Holy Cross. Janelle Allen had 18.

“We wanted to go out playing our style of basketball,” Power-Cassidy said. “Regardless of the stage, this was how we were going to play.”

UP NEXT

Iowa: Second round on Monday against either West Virginia or Princeton.

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-womens-bracket/ and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness