South Carolina Defeats Iowa in Women’s Basketball National Championship Game, 87-75, to Complete Undefeated Season

By Dan Hope on April 7, 2024 at 5:21 pm

South Carolina women’s basketball completed its perfect season on Sunday.

The Gamecocks were challenged by Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes, but came out victorious as they did in all 38 of their games this season to defeat Iowa, 87-75, in the NCAA women’s basketball national championship game in Cleveland on Sunday.

The game was watched by 18.7 million people, setting a new record for the most-watched women’s basketball game ever and measuring as the most-watched basketball game of any kind – college or pro – in five years.

Clark, playing in her final college basketball game after becoming the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer earlier this year, got off to a roaring start as she scored 18 points in the first quarter to lead Iowa to a 27-20 advantage through 10 minutes.

South Carolina responded in the second quarter, ultimately taking a 49-46 lead into halftime. The Gamecocks began to take full control in the third quarter, taking a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter and maintaining a multiple-score lead for the rest of the game.

The Gamecocks’ depth won the day. Nine different players scored at least three points for South Carolina, led by 19 points from freshman guard Tessa Johnson, who headlined a 37-point effort from the Gamecocks’ bench. South Carolina center Kamilla Cardoso was dominant in the post, tallying 15 points and 17 rebounds to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. Clark, the national player of the year, finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a losing effort.

South Carolina, which won its third national championship since 2017 with Sunday’s victory, becomes the 10th Division I team in NCAA women’s basketball history to complete an undefeated season. It’s the first team to complete an undefeated season since 2015-16, when UConn achieved the feat for the sixth time; Texas was the first team to accomplish the feat in 1985-86, while Tennessee (1997-98) and Baylor (2011-12) have also each done it once.

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