IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP)Caitlin Clark scored 20 points as No. 4 Iowa opened the season with an 87-34 win over Southern on Monday night.
Clark, a junior guard who was a unanimous Associated Press preseason All-American, shook off a couple of early injuries to finish with a 6 of 10 shooting night. Clark, who led the nation in assists last season, had just one assist in the game but had nine rebounds. She played just 20 minutes.
Clark appeared to twist her ankle on a drive to the basket three minutes into the game and had to be helped off the court. She went with a trainer to the training room, but was back on the bench a minute later. Clark then got caught with an elbow after coming back into the game later in the first quarter and suffered a bloody nose.
Iowa center Monika Czinano, back for a fifth season after leading the nation in field-goal percentage the last two seasons, scored 10 points on 3 of 4 shooting, playing just 21 minutes. Freshman Hannah Stuelke added 10 points.
The Hawkeyes had a 19-0 first-half run, holding the Lady Jaguars scoreless for almost 71/2 minutes. Southern went 11:49 without a field goal in the first half as the Hawkeyes built a 43-15 halftime lead. The Lady Jaguars scored just five second-quarter points, and they shot 21.1% from the field for the game.
Amani McWain led Southern with eight points.
Iowa has never lost a season opener in Lisa Bluder’s 23 seasons as head coach.
The Hawkeyes, with all five starters back from last season’s team that shared the Big Ten regular-season title and won the conference tournament, were sluggish in the first eight minutes before Clark got the offense going.
Southern struggled in its first game of a nonconference schedule that includes five road games against Power 5 teams. The Lady Jaguars play at No. 8 Iowa State on Thursday, and play December games at Oregon State, Texas and Oklahoma.
Southern: At No. 8 Iowa State on Thursday.
Iowa: Hosts Evansville on Thursday.