Update: Iowa fell one game short of winning the national championship, suffering a 102-85 loss to LSU in the final, leaving Purdue as the only Big Ten team that has ever won a national championship in women’s basketball.
Caitlin Clark scored 30 points for the Hawkeyes in defeat, breaking the record for the most total points (191) ever scored by an individual player in an NCAA Tournament.
Former Ohio State guard Kateri Poole, who transferred to LSU last May, hit a pair of 3-pointers for the Tigers in their title win.
A Big Ten team is headed to the women’s basketball national championship game for the first time in 18 years.
Despite entering Friday night’s game against South Carolina as a double-digit underdog, Iowa advanced to the national championship game with a 77-73 win in the Final Four semifinals over the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, handing the previously unbeaten Gamecocks their only loss in 37 games this year.
The upset was made possible by an all-time great performance by national player of the year Caitlin Clark, who scored a national semifinal-record 41 points – eight more than the Iowa football team scored in any game this past season – for the second game in a row to lead the Hawkeyes to a victory over the top-ranked team in the country for the first time in school history.
Caitlin Clark has scored more points in postseason play (235) than Iowa Football scored all season (230).— Mallory Hartley (@malloryhartley) April 1, 2023
That is insane.
With the victory, Iowa becomes the first Big Ten team to make the national championship game since Michigan State in 2005, when the Spartans lost to UConn in the final. (Rutgers made the national championship game in 2007, but was a member of the Big East at the time.)
Iowa will now look to become just the second Big Ten team ever to win an NCAA championship in women’s basketball when it plays LSU in the national championship game at 3:30 p.m. Sunday (ABC). Purdue, which beat Duke in the 1999 national championship game, is the only previous Big Ten team that has won the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.