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 loses to undefeated South Carolina in NCAA Championship

The Hawkeyes fell, 87-75, to the Gamecocks on Sunday.
Ayrton Breckenridge
South Carolina center Kamilla Cardoso goes for a layup during a NCAA Championship game between No. 1 Iowa and No. 1 South Carolina at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sunday, April 7, 2024. (Ayrton Breckenridge/The Daily Iowan)

CLEVELAND — The Iowa women’s basketball team fell, 87-75, to South Carolina in the national championship on Sunday. The Gamecocks finished the season with a perfect 38-0 record.

In Caitlin Clark’s final game as a Hawkeye, she led the offense with 30 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.  Kate Martin, Sydney Affolter, and Hannah Stuelke also scored in double figures with 16, 11, and 12, respectively.

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Tessa Johnson led the Gamecocks with 19 points, while Kamilla Cardoso recorded 15 points and 17 rebounds.

How it happened

Iowa gets a stop to start the game, and Kate Martin swishes a triple to get the Hawks on the board.

The Hawks continue that hot start and jump out to a 10-0 lead after drives to the hoop from Caitlin Clark and Sydney Affolter.  At the first media timeout, the Hawks lead, 20-11. Clark made a deep three and then was fouled twice on other her other 3-point attempts, going 5-of-6 from the line. 

Out of the timeout, South Carolina cut its deficit to two with a few clutch buckets from first-year Malaysia Fulwiley. 

Clark halts the Gamecock run with a nice floater in the lane to give Iowa a 24-20 lead. 

Then, with 6-foot-7 Kamila Cardoso face-guarding her, Clark drills a three. 

Iowa leads, 27-20, after the first 10 minutes. I’m not sure you could ask for a better start from the Hawks. South Carolina is going to make runs, it’s inevitable. But the Hawks do a great job responding out of the timeout. Clark leads all scorers with 18 points in the first quarter.

South Carolina opens the quarter with seven straight points to knot the game at 27.

Affolter ends the run with a HUGE corner three, assist to Clark.

Cardoso is fouled and misses both shots from the line, but the Gamecocks rebound it and put it back for a layup. Two layups from Hannah Stuelke give Iowa a 34-31 lead.

Tessa Johnson knots the contest with a 3-pointer, and then Cardoso takes the lead for SC with a layup. Stuelke comes right back with an and-one layup, pumping her fists as the crowd explodes and making the layup to give Iowa a one-point advantage.

An offensive foul on SC brings Stuelke to the line, and she knocks them both down. Martin with a nice move in the post to take a four-point lead.

Clark scores her first points of the quarter with just under two minutes left, nailing a step-back triple. SC responds with two quick scores to tie it at 44.

Timeout Gamecocks with 59 seconds left in the half. Iowa ball.

Martin gets to the hoop out of the timeout, but Te-Hina Paopao responds with a three, and Johnson gets a steal and layup to put the Gamecocks up 49-46 at halftime. The Hawks weren’t aware of the clock and didn’t get a shot up in time to end the quarter.

The Gamecocks came out firing in the third quarter to take a nine-point lead. Iowa misses its first three shots, and Bluder calls a timeout with 7:59 left.

The Hawks start chipping away, as Stuelke and Clark both get to the hoop and Marshall hits a wide-open triple to pull them within four. At the media timeout, SC leads 57-53.

Clark bodies her way to the hoop to cut Iowa’s deficit to two. SC gets a second-chance bucket, and a 3-pointer from Clark rolls around the rim but falls out. The Gamecocks run back down the floor and hit two straight triples to take a 10-point lead.

Martin hits two free throws, and another 3-pointer from Johnson forces Bluder to take another timeout down 11.

The Hawkeyes cut their deficit to nine heading into the fourth quarter. The last 10 minutes in an Iowa uniform for Clark, Marshall, and Martin.

SC takes a 76-62 lead in the first two minutes of the quarter. The Gamecocks have 25 second-chance points.

Back-to-back triples from Clark and Marshall make it a six-point game. At the media timeout, SC leads 78-72.

Sydney Affolter saves a turnover and then gets to the hoop for a HUGE and-one bucket. She makes the free throw. Five-point game.

A scoring drought for the Hawkeyes gives the Gamecocks a 10-point lead with 1:26 remaining.

Molly Davis checks in with 20 seconds remaining, and Hawk fans erupt.

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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.