Caitlin Clark leads Iowa back to Final Four

Updated 10 p.m.

Caitlin Clark had 41 points and 12 assists in a sensational performance as Iowa knocked defending national champion LSU out of the women's NCAA Tournament with a 94-87 victory on Monday night, advancing the Hawkeyes to their second straight Final Four.

Top-seeded Iowa (33-4) will play either UConn or Southern California in the national semifinals Friday night in Cleveland.

Monday's highly anticipated matchup was a rematch of last year’s national championship game won by LSU, which drew a record 9.9 million viewers. Both teams wished that this meeting had come later in the tournament instead of with a Final Four berth at stake, but that was out of their control.

Clark, who also scored 41 points in the regional finals last year, and Angel Reese of LSU put on a memorable show for the sold-out crowd and the millions watching.

With the game tied at 45 after an entertaining first half, Clark took over in the third quarter. The NCAA Division I all-time scoring leader hit four 3-pointers, each deeper than the previous one. Her fourth of the quarter, from her signature logo range, made it 61-52. It also was the 538th of her career which made her the all-time leader in that category among NCAA Division I players, passing Oklahoma's Taylor Robertson.

Flau'jae Johnson scored 23 points for LSU (31-6), which fell short of becoming the first repeat champion since UConn in 2016. Reese finished with 17 points and 20 rebounds.

Twin Cities watch party

Minneapolis’ Riverview Theater hosted a viewing for local fans of the marquee matchup. The theater often holds free watch parties for major sporting events, accepting food donations as an entry fee. Monday night, the crowd rang out with fans both young and old.  

Cousins Ellouise Hart, 6, William Cummings-Hart, 6, and Bear Riley, 9, enjoy their snacks at the Riverview Theater in South Minneapolis as Iowa beat LSU during the Elite Eight round of the women’s NCAA basketball tournament on April 1, 2024.
Tim Evans for MPR News

One fan from Minneapolis, Vivian Hildebrandt, was a graduate student at University of Iowa, but only now became interested in the team — or any collegiate sports — with the excitement that has come with stars like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese. 

“I haven’t followed any basketball, I hardly follow sports, and this year I started. I am so excited, particularly for Caitlin,” Hildebrandt said. “I’m happy to be in this little theatre in the neighborhood so I can watch.” 

One fan led the crowd in the “Iowa Fight Song” post win, sparking an ensemble of Hawkeyes fans around the theater.   

“The game was wonderful to watch. Both teams have a phenomenal level of skill, but they kept fighting right to the end. Which really is part of their sportsmanship and their love of the game,” Hildebrandt said. “Iowa won, I’m happy, but I admire both.” 

Collected from Minnesota Public Radio News. View original source here.

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) is a public radio network for the state of Minnesota. With its three services, News & Information, YourClassical MPR and The Current, MPR operates a 46-station regional radio network in the upper Midwest. Last updated from Wikipedia 2024-03-03T22:03:37Z.
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