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 fans fill Carver-Hawkeye Arena to watch Final Four game

The Hawkeyes’ home stadium was full of fans who supported the Iowa women’s basketball team against UConn Friday night.
Ethan McLaughlin
Fans celebrate the win during the women’s basketball Final Four watch party inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Friday, April 5, 2024.

Despite being 550 miles away from the actual NCAA Tournament game, the classic “Let’s go Hawks!” chant echoed through the Carver-Hawkeye Arena as the team notched the 71-69 Final Four victory on Friday over UConn.

As Caitlin Clark and No. 1 Iowa took on Paige Bueckers and No. 3 UConn in a Final Four matchup in Cleveland, Ohio, hundreds of fans gathered inside the Hawkeyes’ home stadium to watch the game together on the Jumbotron.

“I mean, that excitement in the room, and to think that Iowa is at the center of all that national attention is amazing,” John Hayden, a supporter of the Iowa women’s basketball program for over 40 years, said at the watch party. “It’s something that may never happen again … It’s a moment in history.”

As the final buzzer sounded, every fan in the arena erupted in cheers as Iowa advanced to the NCAA Championship game.

Taylor Williams-Kurt, who had just moved back to Iowa City from Oregon with her daughter Elin, said their friends in Oregon often ask about Caitlin Clark.

“It’s just amazing how widespread it is,” Williams-Kurt said


Iowa trailed by five points at the end of the first quarter despite committing seven turnovers through the first 10 minutes of play. They continued to struggle as UConn pushed the lead up to 12 halfway through the second quarter. But the Hawkeyes went on a 10-4 run the rest of the way to head into the break down six, 32-26.

Jason Lee, a UI fourth-year student who attended the watch party, was optimistic that Iowa would turn things around in the second half.

“We’ve seen this team go on crazy offensive runs before … I think the turnovers have been pretty problematic,” Lee said. “But with all that being said, we’re only down six at the half. Anything can happen when only down six.”

UI first-year student AJ Sanchez said at the watch party that he’s already witnessed many games as a member of the marching band and never takes it for granted.

“The atmosphere is electric,” Sanchez said. “There’s nothing quite like it … I was able to do a whole bunch of extra things for the basketball team, and it’s truly an exhilarating experience to be here at Iowa and experience that.”

The game was knotted up at 51 apiece heading into the fourth quarter after a 25-19 third quarter by the Hawkeyes. With a national championship on the line, Iowa took the lead right away in the fourth quarter and never let it go.

Iowa will take on South Carolina in the NCAA Championship in Cleveland, Ohio, at 2 p.m. CT.

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About the Contributor
Chris Meglio
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.