IOWA CITY, IA — History was made in college basketball on Sunday afternoon, and DePaul had a part in it.
It was all about the crowd that checked out the Blue Demons game against Iowa, one of the best teams in women’s basketball, and the unique venue in which it took place: Kinnick Stadium.
The Hawkeyes hosted the first “Crossover at Kinnick,” an outdoor exhibition basketball game at Iowa’s football stadium. It was essentially a scrimmage brought outdoors in an effort to raise money for the school’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Under cloudy skies with temperatures in the 50s, the two teams took the floor in front of 55,646, a record crowd to watch a women’s basketball game. It bested the previous record of 29,619 that watched the UConn-Oklahoma 2002 national championship game in San Antonio’s Alamodome.
It was a contest that was actually conceived a year ago when both teams met for a closed-door scrimmage at McGrath-Phillips Arena in Lincoln Park. Expressing the regret that no one saw a competitive 96-92 Iowa win, both coaches decided to open the 2023 scrimmage up to fans.
Doing so by raising money for charity is now allowed by the NCAA, and the decision to bring the game outdoors was made official this summer.
Unlike the closed-door scrimmage in 2022, the national runner-up Hawkeyes were in control of this exhibition contest. They raced out to a 15-point halftime lead and never looked back in a 94-72 victory in front of a spirited record crowd that was nearly all in their favor.
Reigning national player of the year Caitlin Clark had a triple-double – 34 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists – as the Hawkeyes shot 49 percent from the field. Anaya Peoples had a team-high 19 points with Maeve McErlane adding 14.
DePaul will open its regular season against Western Michigan on Monday, November 6 at Wintrust Arena. Iowa opens up their season on the same day at home against Fairleigh Dickinson .