Caitlin Clark Leads Iowa to First Final Four Since 1993
. Caitlin Clark led Iowa to their first women's Final Four in 30 years with 41 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
SEATTLE (AP), - Caitlin Clark gave a great performance with 41 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds. The Hawkeyes beat fifth-seeded Louisville by 97 to 83 on Sunday, sending them to their first women’s Final Four in 30+ years.
She was unanimously voted first-team All-American and she proved to be as dominant as ever in getting the Hawkeyes into Dallas for Friday's women's NCAA Tournament national semifinals. The winner of the Greenville 1 regional, which has South Carolina playing Maryland on Monday evening, will be the Seattle 4 Region champion.
Iowa (30-6) hadn’t been to the Final Four in three decades. The team’s last appearance was 1993, when Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer coached the team. The team had been to only one other Elite Eight since the Final Four in 2019.
Clark achieved her 11th career triple-double and 19th NCAA Tournament record. Clark was the first to achieve a triple-double of 30 and 40 points in March Madness history.
After trailing by five at halftime, Louisville reduced its deficit to 47-47. Clark and the Hawkeyes then scored 11 more points in a 17-6 run that opened the game. This brought the majority of the pro-Iowa crowd, which numbered nearly 12,000 people, to their feet.
With just over 6 minutes remaining, Louisville was down 22. The Cardinals then went on a 13-1 run with 2:10 to pull within 86-76. The Cardinals couldn't get any closer.
Clark quit the game with just 22.7 seconds remaining and hugged Lisa Bluder.
Hailey Van Lith had 27 points, while Olivia Cochran had 20 rebounds and 14 points to lead Louisville (26-12).
Clark made eight of 16 Hawkeyes season-high 3-pointers. This was a school record by the Hawkeyes in NCAA Tournament. It beat the previous mark of 13 against Gonzaga.
Iowa was forced to call timeout after Louisville scored eight of the first nine points. Clark then got moving. Clark, a 6-foot junior, scored seven of the Hawkeyes' first quarter points. She finished the quarter with 15 points. She found open teammates by making precise passes when she wasn't scoring.
In the first 10 minutes of play, she had four assists. This account accounted for all the Iowa points. The Hawkeyes were leading 25-21.
Clark showed her continued mastery in the second half, making shots from every corner of the court, including some of her long-distance 3s that were located near the logo.
Van Lith helped Louisville stay in the game. She scored the first six points, but she was quiet until the end of the second quarter. The Cardinals were down by 48 to 43 at the half-way mark. She scored 11 points in the second period.
Clark scored 22 points and had eight assists in the first 20 minutes to reach the fourth-highest score total in a NCAA regional.
Clark is currently at 984 points for the season. She hopes to be able to play alongside Hawkeye Megan Gustafson, who has 1,000 points in one year. It has been done by four other players, including Villanova's Maddy Siegrist who did it this season. Kelly Plum, Jackie Stiles, and Odyssey Sims were also able to accomplish the feat.
Van Lith again performed well in her home state. Van Lith, a small-town star from 130 miles from Seattle, grew up to be one of the most respected prep players in the nation. She is the state's all-time leader in scoring at high schools and is now a star for Cardinals.
Many hundreds of people from Cashmere, her hometown, watched the game and cheered on the Louisville star.