INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP) — Monika Czinano scored 27 points, Caitlin Clark added 20 points and 11 assists and sixth-seeded Iowa beat seventh-seeded Michigan State 87-72 Friday to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game.
The Hawkeyes (18-8) will be seeking their fourth win in the tournament when they take on top seed and No. 7-ranked Maryland, an 85-52 winner over Northwestern in its semifinal.
Clark, the freshman who is the nation’s leading scorer (27.2), had consecutive 3-pointers to cap an 11-0 run for a 77-62 lead with six minutes remaining. The Spartans (15-8) got within eight but a pair of baskets from Czinano and another from McKenna Warnock pushed the lead back to 14 with 1:51 left.
Warnock had 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
Nia Clouden scored 24 points, Kendall Bostic had 13 and Moira Joiner 10 for the Spartans, who beat the Hawkeyes 86-82 in a Dec. 12 matchup. Joiner started for the injured Tori Ozment.
Michigan State led 41-40 at halftime. Warnock gave Iowa the lead for good with a 3-pointer early in the third quarter, which ended with a Clark 3-pointer and a seven-point lead.
Iowa, coming in as the nation’s top 3-point shooting team at 41%, made only 8 of 26 from the arc for 31% but sank 19 of 21 free throws and outscored Michigan State 26-8 off turnovers.