The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa women’s basketball punches its ticket to Final Four with win over defending national champion LSU

The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers, 94-87, on Monday night.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark shoots the bal during a NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game between No. 1 Iowa and No. 3 LSU at MVP Arena in Albany, N.Y., on Monday, April 1, 2024. (Ayrton Breckenridge/The Daily Iowan)

ALBANY, N.Y. — Down goes the defending national champions.

Iowa women’s basketball punched its ticket to the Final Four with a 94-87 win over LSU on Monday night. The victory avenged the Hawkeyes’ 102-85  loss to the Tigers in last year’s NCAA title game.

Star guard Caitlin Clark led the Hawkeyes with 41 points, 12 assists, and 7 rebounds. In the words of play-by-play announcer Ryan Ruocco, Clark was “possessed” from deep, matching her career-high with nine triples. Clark now has the most 3-pointers in NCAA women’s basketball history.

The Hawkeyes will play No. 3 UConn in the national semifinals.

How it happened 

Twenty seconds in, Clark pulls up from deep — bang. If anyone plans on leaving MVP Arena tonight without their ears ringing, good luck. It’s a Hawkeye-heavy crowd in Albany.

Iowa opens the game winning in transition, getting several trips to the hoop for easy layups. Helping out Clark from beyond the arc early is veteran Kate Martin who is left wide open. After a layup from Aneesah Morrow, Sydney Affolter beats everyone down the floor, and Clark finds her for a layup. Kim Mulkey comes onto the court to call a timeout with Iowa leading, 17-9.

Out of the timeout, LSU returns to the court firing. A few second-chance layups by Angel Reese get the Tigers within two at one point, but the Hawkeyes answer with triples from Gabbie Marshall and Affolter. Then, Clark gets the and-one call as she muscles her way to the hoop and makes the free throw to give Iowa a 26-21 advantage. Two layups by Reese cut the Tigers’ deficit to one. A lousy pass by Clark is intercepted by Reese, who gives LSU a 27-26 lead with a layup. LSU then forces a five-second violation to regain possession, and Flau’jae Johnson hits a jumper. At the end of the first quarter, the Tigers lead, 31-26.

Hailey Van Lith opens the second quarter for LSU with a trey. Affolter answers with a triple of her own to keep Iowa within five. Clark is fouled by Reese as she goes to the hoop and the fourth-year goes 1-of-2 from the line. On the foul, Reese hurts herself going out of bounds, and limps to the sideline.

Iowa tries to take advantage down low with Reese out, and Stuelke is fouled going to the hoop. She makes both free throws as Reese comes back into the game, still with a limp. Reese scores right away. Stuelke then gets over Reese for a layup on the other end to get the Hawkeyes within two. LSU’s Johnson is called for an over-the-back foul, Iowa ball. Affolter misses from three, and Johnson hits a jumper. Reese misses a layup, and Affolter grabs the board. Clark hits a deep three to make it 38-37 in favor of LSU. The Tigers have been called for a couple of travels, but Iowa fans and head coach Lisa Bluder want more. Stuelke is called for her second foul.

“Are you watching her feet?” Bluder asks the baseline ref as she calls timeout. With 3:02 left in the half, LSU leads, 38-37. Out of the timeout, Reese hits 1-of-2 from the charity stripe. Affolter powers her way to the basket and knots the game at 39 with a layup. Clark is called for her first foul, and Van Lith makes both free throws.

Clark with a nasty behind-the-back as she goes past Van Lith to give the Hawkeyes a two-point lead. Johnson ties it back up with a pull-up jumper. Clark finds Addison O’Grady inside the foul line, who hits a jumper for her first points of the game. Johnson with a great play near the hoop to tie the game at 45 heading into the locker room.

What. A. Game. You can’t ask for anything more out of these two squads. Clark leads all scorers at the break with 19 points.

The second hall opened just like the game started: Clark from deep — BANG.

Stuelke is called for her third foul about eight seconds later. Not great for the Hawks. Johnson makes both free throws. Martin goes strong to the hoop and is fouled. She makes both from the charity stripe to put Iowa up by three. Johnson layup, and then Clark finds Martin in transition for an easy layup.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME, CLARK? She bangs in another one from deep. Mulkey calls timeout as the Hawks go up by six.

Clark. Trey. Again. She has 28 with over seven minutes left in the third period.

Reese is fouled, and she makes 1-of-2 from the line. Johnson picks up her third foul, she heads to the bench. And, guess what? Another triple by Clark.

Iowa gets a stop, and then Clark chucks a heat check from the logo. She misses, but I mean, she had to, right?! Iowa leads, 61-52, at the media timeout.

Clark grabs the steal and hits a leading Affolter for a layup. A couple of stops on defense, and Martin capitalizes with a turnaround jumper inside the free-throw line to give Iowa a 13-point advantage. LSU throws the ball away, but the refs are reviewing it to see if one of the Hawkeye players touched it. Iowa ball.

Reese ends LSU’s scoring drought with a layup. Clark misses a three, and then the Tigers get two second-chance layups to cut their deficit to seven.

Clark gets a steal and heaves a pass to O’Grady who rolls in a layup. LSU is called for an offensive foul. Iowa is in the bonus, so Affolter is going to the line to shoot two. She makes both, and Iowa leads, 69-58, at the end of the third quarter.

LSU’s Mikaylah Williams hits a three to start the fourth period. Morrow gets to the hoop for a layup. Reese picks up her fourth foul, and O’Grady makes 1-of-2 from the line. Iowa leads, 70-63. The Hawkeye defense gets a stop, and Martin powers her way to the hoop for a layup. Morrow answers with a layup.

Clark comes down the court and hits her eighth three of the game to put Iowa up 10. Affolter is called for her third foul, and Van Lith makes both free throws. Iowa turns the ball over and then Martin grabs a steal. Martin scores her 15th point on a layup off an in-bounds pass from Clark. Morrow with another layup.

Clark crossover and a deep triple — her ninth of the night, matching her career-high. Van Lith has had trouble all game guarding No. 22. Iowa is up 11 at the final media timeout.

With the shot clock running out, Martin hits an off-balance jumper to give Iowa an 82-69 lead. Marshall steals the ball — her third of the game — and gets decked by Johnson, who picks up her fourth foul. Clark travels, and Reese is fouled on the other end by Stuelke, who also picks up her fourth foul. Reese makes 1-of-2 from the charity stripe.

Stuelke with an and-one, foul by Reese. She misses the free throw. Williams drives to the hoop and makes a layup. Mulkey calls a timeout as her team trails, 84-74. Martin takes a hard charge by Reese, and she fouls out of the game.

In the final 60 seconds — which took about 10 minutes — Iowa clinches the game with several free throws, and down comes the confetti. The Hawks are headed to Cleveland.

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About the Contributors
Kenna Roering
Kenna Roering, Sports Editor
Kenna Roering is The Daily Iowan's sports editor. She is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism with a minor in sports and recreation management. Kenna previously worked as a sports reporter for men's wrestling and volleyball and was the summer sports editor in 2023. This is her second year with the DI.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.