When you are preparing for a war against a team with one of the all-time strongest soldiers in the history of battle, how exactly do you go about configuring your mindset?
The Indiana Hoosiers are presently readying themselves for their tallest task so far in the 2023-2024 season, with the primary objective being to return to B-Town as the sole leaders in the Big Ten standings. In order to achieve this objective, there is one mammoth sized hurdle standing in their way. HER name is Caitlin Clark.
Clark swept every single National Player of the Year race following the 2022-2023 season, and was a unanimous preseason All-American leading up to the current 2023-2024 campaign. She has already cemented her spot on the list of the all-time elite in the history of women's college basketball, and is on track to become the NCAA's all-time leading scorer at some point during the Hawkeyes's next matchup with the Hoosiers on February 22nd. While the intrigue surrounding that particular contest is high, we are focused on her matchup with Indiana today.
Heading into tonight's game against the 14th ranked Hoosiers (8 PM ET on FOX Sports), Clark is the nation's leading scorer by a landslide at an even 31 points-per-game. She also snags 7.3 rebounds a night while dishing out 7.7 assists and swiping 1.6 steals each contest on average. For a player who trails only USC's JuJu Watkins for the country's highest usage percentage (40.4%) Clark is also highly efficient (1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio plus shooting splits of 48.3 FG%/40.1 3%/80.8 FT%). Furthermore, the phenom has messed around and tallied an NCAA record 15 career triple-doubles, with 2 of those occurring in Iowa's last 2 games.
Needless to say, Indiana has a lot on it's plate today and that is without even factoring in Clark's supporting cast. The Hawkeyes score the 3rd most points-per game in the nation with an average of 90.9, so it is not as if the point guard prodigy has to do everything alone. However, it should go without saying that she is the head of Iowa's snake. Clark is the engine that keeps things running, and finding a way to interrupt her flow is the first step in gaining the upper-hand. Teri Moren's Indiana team parallels Lisa Bluder's when it comes to offensive firepower, but they do not possess the same type of juice on the less glamorous end of the floor. They will look to senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil to do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of individually defending Clark, but common sense tells you that she will have a lot of help from her Hoosier teammates.
With Indiana looking to fortify itself as a true title contender, tonight's game represents their best chance to do so. If they can find a way to make players not named Caitlin Clark beat them, they have a strong shot at stealing a win in this one. However, that is going to be much easier said than done when you are talking about arguably the most talented player in women's college basketball history.