COLLEGE PARK, MD. — Caitlin Clark faked a defender off her feet, dribbled to her left and then nailed a 3-pointer.
It was no surprise that the ball went in and Iowa was ahead.
“That was probably the loudest noise the crowd had made all night at that point,” Clark said of the sellout of 17,950 at the Xfinity Center. “That was a huge shot and I think Sydney (Affolter) gets the layup, we get a few stops on defense and we work together.”
Clark had 38 points and 12 assists, and No. 3 Iowa withstood a strong effort from Maryland to outlast the Terrapins 93-85 on Saturday night. The Terps rallied from an 18-point deficit in the third quarter, but Clark and the Hawkeyes had enough answers along the way.
The Hawkeyes (21-2, 10-1 Big Ten) won at Maryland for the first time since December 1992, when the Terps were in the ACC.
“This is the first time I’ve been happy in this press room,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said afterward.
Clark needs 66 points to pass Kelsey Plum for the top spot in the NCAA’s women’s basketball career rankings.
Molly Davis scored 17 points and Kate Martin had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Iowa.
“Caitlin did some natural Caitlin moves, which were amazing, but I thought Molly Davis had a really great act as well,” Bluder said.
A packed crowd in College Park was clearly there to watch Clark, but most of the fans were also cheering on the Terps. Maryland took a two-point lead with a 23-3 run in the third. Clark even hit an airball from the left wing, much to the delight of the crowd.
“I didn’t expect them to get back to an 18-point lead in about four minutes, but we fouled too much,” Clark said.
The Terps led 65-63 before Iowa outscored them 10-1 the rest of the quarter. Clark made a three-pointer and a layup, and also assisted on two layups during that run.
The Terps, who battled through an unusually difficult season that earned them a spot in the NCAA Tournament bubble, managed to stay close in the fourth round. It was tied at 76 until Clark let loose with that smooth pump fake and connected from 3-point range. He then fed Affolter for a layup and Maryland never pulled away again.
“This game felt like March,” Terps coach Brenda Frese said. “I’m really proud of this group and the fact that we’re competing with the No. 3 team in the country, the best player in the country. “There is no doubt that we are an NCAA Tournament team.”
Clark might have finished the game with 40 points if he hadn’t missed a wide layup on offense in the final minute, but with Iowa comfortably ahead, he could afford to smile.
After Clark started the game with a three-pointer, Maryland scored the next 11 points to take an early lead before the Iowa star was called for several travel violations.
The Terps (12-10, 4-7) couldn’t keep Clark in check for long. A particularly deep three-pointer from the left wing, beyond former Maryland men’s coach Gary Williams’ on-court signature, capped a 14-2 Iowa run. He made four of his seven three-pointers in the first quarter.
Clark did his damage inside the arc in the second round, including a spin move for a three-point play. Iowa led 52-38 at halftime.
Clark currently has 3,462 points. Plum scored 3,527 points with Washington from 2013-17. Former Kansas star Lynette Woodard holds the women’s major college basketball record with 3,649 points from 1978-81, before the NCAA took over women’s sports from the Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Association.