IOWA CITY – Even when things looked bleak Thursday, Kate Martin saw a clear chance for an Iowa victory.
Shedding a facemask that had been protecting a broken nose, Martin scored 12 of her career-high 19 points in the second half to help the Hawkeyes rally for a 96-78 win over Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Martin hit all five 3-point shots she attempted, dished out a career-high 11 assists and led Iowa with a pair of steals as she played for the first time in 10 games without the shield she had worn since having her nose broken during a Jan. 6 game at Illinois.
“I think it’s just a bit of a coincidence,’’ said Martin, who said a lack of pain in recent days led to her gaining permission from Iowa trainers to play without the mask.
“I just let the game, the shots, come to me. I hit one, then two, and I started to feel confidence.’’
Martin scored nine of her points in the third quarter as Iowa worked its way back from an 11-point halftime deficit.
“What a special game for Kate,’’ Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “I don’t think it was coincidence. I think that mask had been impacting her vision. It had to. She looked pretty good out there. She was playing free.’’
Martin scored the first points of the third quarter and later pulled Iowa within a 62-60 score with 4 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in a quarter that saw the Hawkeyes outscore the Nittany Lions 28-15.
Iowa moved ahead for the first time in the game at 65-64 on a 3-pointer by Caitlin Clark, who reached 30 points for a fourth straight game with a 32-point effort.
Clark then helped extend the lead, feeding Gabbie Marshall for a 3-point basket with :42 left in the quarter to send Iowa into the final quarter with a 69-67 advantage.
Martin and Clark combined for the first 20 points the Hawkeyes scored in the fourth quarter, complementing a defensive effort which saw Iowa hold Penn State to 26 second-half points after giving up 29 points in the second quarter.
“Defense was the key,’’ Clark said. “We’re always going to be fine on offense, but we had to get stops on defense if we wanted to get back in this.’’
The Hawkeyes limited the Nittany Lions to 29.4-percent shooting in the second half, allowing Iowa to overcome a halftime deficit to win for the fifth time in its 12 victories this season.
“We have a lot of experience of being down at the half,’’ Martin said. “When we get in those situations, we have confidence that we can come back.’’
Not much went Iowa’s way as Penn State built a lead which reached 14 points late in the second quarter before McKenna Warnock scored three of her 15 points on a late basket to pull the Hawkeyes within 52-41 at the break.
The Nittany Lions had hammered Iowa on the boards, owning a 32-17 rebounding advantage that included a 17-3 margin on the offensive glass.
“We’re usually a pretty good rebounding team so that was a little out of character for us,’’ said Monika Czinano, who finished with 17 points. “It was something we had to get fixed in the second half and we did.’’
Penn State scored just four of its 20 second-chance points in the final two quarters but when it wasn’t scoring on second and third looks in the first half, the Nittany Lions were knocking down shots from the perimeter.
Entering the game averaging 7.3 3-point baskets per game, Penn State (8-10, 5-9 Big Ten) had 10 by halftime before Iowa finally warmed from the field.
The Hawkeyes (12-6, 8-6) shot their way back into the game, hitting 20-of-29 shots from the field in the final two quarters.
“There was a point in the first half where we were getting outrebounded something like 20-8. That’s ridiculous,’’ Clark said. “We just had to clean that up in the second half, play defense and rebound, and once we did things worked out.’’
Iowa schedule change Iowa’s upcoming schedule has been altered to accommodate a rescheduled game against Big Ten leader Maryland.
The Hawkeyes’ scheduled game at Indiana on Sunday has been postponed until March 3, with Iowa now scheduled to play a noon game at Maryland on Tuesday before returning home to face Michigan next Thursday.
Iowa 96, Penn State 78
PENN ST. (8-10)—Camden 8-16 0-0 18, Beverley 5-12 1-1 13, Burke 7-17 0-0 20, Hagans 5-13 0-0 13, Marisa 1-11 0-0 2, Cash 4-11 1-2 9, Garcia 1-3 0-0 3, Sabel 0-0 0-0 0, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 31-83 2-3 78
IOWA (12-6)—Warnock 6-9 1-2 15, Czinano 8-11 1-1 17, Clark 12-21 2-2 32, Marshall 2-7 1-1 6, Martin 7-10 0-0 19, Cook 1-2 0-0 2, Meyer 0-1 0-0 0, Taiwo 2-4 0-0 5, Goodman 0-0 0-0 0, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 38-65 5-6 96
Penn St. 23 29 15 11 — 78
Iowa 17 24 28 27 — 96
3-Point Goals—Penn St. 14-38 (Camden 2-6, Beverley 2-6, Burke 6-15, Hagans 3-5, Marisa 0-5, Garcia 1-1), Iowa 15-28 (Warnock 2-4, Clark 6-11, Marshall 1-4, Martin 5-5, Meyer 0-1, Taiwo 1-3). Assists—Penn St. 20 (Marisa 8), Iowa 29 (Martin 11). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Penn St. 48 (Hagans 8-9), Iowa 31 (Czinano 3-8). Total Fouls—Penn St. 9, Iowa 7. Technical Fouls—None. A—274.