The Hawkeyes Women’s Basketball Team has accomplished the impossible by beating top-ranked South Carolina, 77-73, at American Airlines Center on Friday night. Iowa reached Sunday’s NCAA championship game against LSU, coached by Kim Mulkey. Though Caitlin Clark had an off night by her standards, her 41 points, six rebounds, and eight assists were nothing short of incredible. The Hawkeyes were here not just to lead the team to its first Final Four since 1993, but they were here to win two more games and achieve the school’s first NCAA basketball championship for the men or women.
The team’s motto reflects the attitude and the mindset required to reach this level of competition. Caitlin Clark speaks for the entire team when she says, “We didn’t come this far just to play in the national championship game. We’re here to win it. We’re here to hoist the trophy. We’re here to cut down another championship net.” A confident attitude is imperative for a championship victory, and the Hawkeyes have one.
Clark’s first-quarter performance was brilliant. She accounted for 19 of Iowa’s 22 points with 11 points and four assists. Two of those points came when she drove around the 2022 Naismith winner, Aliyah Boston, for two points with a scoop layup. It was one of the game’s defining moments.
Only the 1956 men’s team from Iowa has reached this point in the past. They lost in the title game to Bill Russell-led San Francisco. Lisa Bluder’s Hawkeyes are now Iowa’s first Division I women’s program, and they will play LSU for the championship, which will be shown at 2:30 pm Sunday on ABC.
It’s worth noting that only one team from the Big Ten Conference has won an NCAA women’s basketball title (Purdue in 1999) since its inception in 1982. Iowa has eliminated South Carolina’s repeat bid and has a chance to make a mark in women’s basketball history. With Caitlin Clark leading the way, they have an excellent shot at making it happen.
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