Iowa women’s basketball grinds past Belmont after tough road trips

IOWA CITY — Hoping for a good affair after two grueling road trips, Iowa’s No. 6 women’s basketball Sunday afternoon received the exact opposite.

Missouri Valley Conference newcomer Belmont was named the league’s preseason champion and showed exactly why at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Bruins jabbed and jabbed at Iowa for 40 minutes, stifling the offensive flow and forcing the Hawkeyes to pick up the slack defensively.

Iowa did, just in time to avoid disaster.

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (right) reacts after being fouled by Belmont guard Tuti Jones during Sunday's game in Iowa City.

Caitlin Clark dealt with the Hawkeyes’ shooting problems with a red-hot run late in the third quarter, and Iowa’s defense choked in the fourth quarter, resulting in a 73-62 win in front of a solid crowd at the Carver Hawkeye Arena.

Concerns in November don’t always translate into adversity throughout the season, but the Hawkeyes still needed a clean performance after working overtime to beat Drake last Sunday and stumbling at Kansas State on Thursday. The latter saw Iowa pull out a late lead in what was hardly a display of top-10 skill.