Iowa superstar PG Caitlin Clark was unstoppable. She set Carver-Hawkeye Arena on fire with 45 points, seemingly willing the ball into the hoop trip after trip over the halfcourt stripe. There was no range too deep for the basketball phenom to pull the trigger.

Combine that with her four assists and she accounted for over 50 of the Hawkeyes’ 81 points.

The bad news? Offense wasn’t too difficult to come by for their opponent, the N.C. State Wolfpack, who scored 94 on 55% shooting from the floor.

It’s the most Iowa’s given up all season, and it came to the 12th-ranked team in the country. But Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder didn’t hold back on her team’s play on that end of the floor.

“I’m very disappointed in our defensive effort,” Bluder said bluntly. “We started out good in the first quarter. The second, third, and fourth were not good. We gave up 46 paint points — we usually own the paint and for us to give up 46 paint points is not good.”

N.C. State also excelled scoring outside of the paint, shooting 7-for-13 from three-point range. While none of their players scored 45, they did get 22 a piece from Diamond Johnson and Saniya Rivers on a combined 17-for-23 shooting.

“We didn’t play defense,” Clark said. “It’s pretty simple, no matter what we do on offense, we could have scored more than 90 points and we still would have lost the game. It comes down to defense and we know that and no matter who it is, if you let them score that many points, we’re not going to win the basketball game. We play good defense for one quarter but you have to do it for all four if you want to win anything.”

Iowa began the regular season as the fourth-ranked team, and have already fallen to 10th. The Hawkeyes now sit at 5-3, and will probably fall further in the AP poll.

Forward McKenna Warnock agrees defense needs to become a greater priority.

“We didn’t have a sense of urgency,” Warnock said. “I think it was pretty obvious that we didn’t have that sense of urgency. There was just a weird dullness on defense and we need to figure it out.”

Iowa will have a chance for some redemption at Carver-Hawkeye next Wednesday against No. 8 Iowa State. Their next matchup is in Wisconsin on Sunday.

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