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 capitalizes on second chance against LSU with win in Elite Eight

Iowa won 94-87 to advance to the Final Four for the second straight season.
Grace Smith
Iowa celebrates winning an NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game between No. 1 Iowa and No. 3 LSU at the Hilton Hotel in Albany, N.Y., on Monday, April 1, 2024. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers, 94-87.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Before Iowa’s coveted rematch against LSU in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament Monday night, head coach Lisa Bluder held one final practice that morning to go over what they wanted to accomplish during the game. 

It was standard procedure: An open shootaround, going through layup lines, and walking through plays on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. 

The team also practiced how they would cut the net once they beat LSU. 

“Coach Bluder passed around a pair of scissors to everybody, and we visualized cutting down the nets,” forward Addison O’Grady said. “We did that this morning during shootarounds.”

Well, practice makes perfect for Iowa. The Hawkeyes cut down the net after beating LSU 94-87 to advance to their second straight Final Four appearance. 

“We’re really big about seeing it happen and making it happen,” associate head coach Jan Jensen said following the game. “ It wasn’t us being overconfident — It was more about believing in ourselves and knowing what we could do.” 

After falling to the Tigers 102-85 in last year’s national championship, a game in which LSU shot 54 and 64 percent from the field and beyond the arc, respectively, the Hawkeyes avenged their previous loss behind star guard Caitlin Clark. No. 22 finished with a double-double of 41 points and 12 assists. 

“It’s always nice to get a second chance in life, and you don’t always get those, and we got another chance of playing them, and we capitalized on it,” guard Kate Martin said

Iowa started strong, with Clark, Martin, Gabbie Marshall, and Sydney Affolter hitting threes in the first half. Clark tied her career best with nine made threes during the game and broke the record for most triples in an NCAA career. LSU kept it close, however,  scoring second-chance buckets off offensive rebounds and getting starter Hannah Stuelke in foul trouble.  

“I’m just extremely grateful for this group of young women we have — They’re amazing,” Bluder said. “Everybody kept saying at the beginning of the year [we] lost all this offense and two starters, and everybody kept focusing on that, and we kept focusing on what had.” 

In the second half, Iowa outscored LSU 49-42 and got one of the Tigers’ starters in foul trouble, with center Angel Reese fouling out late in the game. Iowa also improved its scoring capabilities close to the basket, and the team finished with 36 points in the paint compared to 24 during the two teams’ first outing last April. 

“Anytime [LSU] went on a run, we always had an answer for them,” Affolter said. “I think we just stayed together as a team and played our style of basketball.” 

Iowa also pushed the pace by scoring in transition on many occasions, which Marshall said was a point of emphasis heading into the game.

“I would say that was probably one of the most important things in the win tonight,” Marshall said. “Coach Bluder has us run up and down all the time in practice, and we are always practicing our transition and scoring quickly.” 

Marshall said this is why the team doesn’t tend to get tired late in games, which she personally can attest to, as the fifth-year senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, played all 40 minutes of the contest. 

“Physically, yeah, my body was tired, but mentally, I was gonna do anything I could to win that game, and I was gonna play my butt off until the final buzzer,” she said. 

Bluder said she made an effort to reaffirm to her team that — despite what national media might portray — there is no rivalry with LSU. Instead, she said it was simply a competition against an opponent.

“We didn’t talk about last year’s game at all. It just wasn’t important to us,” she said. “That was last year, and we were focusing on ourselves and not LSU going into this game.”

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About the Contributors
Cooper Worth, Pregame reporter
Cooper Worth is a Pregame Reporter for The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication. He is also earning a minor in communication studies and an entrepreneurial management certificate. This is his third year at the DI, previously serving as a News Editor and as a News Reporter covering local government in Johnson County for the DI. Cooper interned for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa during the summer of 2023 as a general news reporter.
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.