The LSU Tigers women’s basketball team claimed the 2023 National Championship title.
The Tigers cruised to a 17-point victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes, 102-85.
National Champions – yeah, those National Champions pic.twitter.com/VsICeRrX6v
— LSU Women's Basketball (@LSUwbkb) April 2, 2023
The Last One Standing
Of the 64 teams entering the Women’s March Madness tournament, only one team was left standing at the top of it all.
Comprised of nine freshmen and transfers, the LSU Tigers stormed through the season finishing 34-2 (15-1 in SEC) to claim their very first title in school history.
Tthe team scored a record number of points in a title game. They’re also the first team to win a national title after starting the season outside the AP Top 15.
Clash of the Stars
Facing a dangerous Iowa Hawkeyes squad who sent home the favorite, South Carolina, LSU was set to have their toughest challenge yet.
Point guard Caitlin Clark, the NCAA Player of the Year, set an NCAA record for most points (191) and assists (60) in an NCAA tournament. Her performance made Iowa arguably the hottest team on the planet.
On the opposite side of the court, Iowa was facing an LSU squad with a track record of taking down the country’s best.
Coming into the title game, the Tigers beat No. 1 seed Virginia Tech and No. 2 seed Utah. Angel Reese set an NCAA single-season record with 34th double-doubles.
Forcing three early turnovers, Iowa would get out to a 7-3 lead.
That would come to be their largest lead of the game.
The Tigers would respond with an 11-3 run and stretching their lead to 16-12. Clark would hit consecutive three-pointers to tie the game for the Hawkeyes at 18-18.
An unlikely star emerged in the second quarter. LSU graduate transfer Jasmine Carson previously struggled, failing to score any points in the last three games of the tournament.
She had her “I think I got my swagger back” moment igniting for 22 points in the first half. She shot 100% from the floor including five three-pointers off the bench.
Her last three-pointer came as a buzzer-beater to put the Tigers up 59-52 going into the half. The shot set an NCAA record for points scored by a team in the first half of the championship game.
JASMINE CARSON ARE YOU SERIOUS⁉️
BANK SHOT AT THE BUZZER FOR A 21-POINT HALF! pic.twitter.com/H4fDyBOPzH
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 2, 2023
The Hawkeyes came out of the gate rallying in the third quarter, going on a 15-2 run in three minutes.
Iowa held the Tigers to 16 points in the third quarter as they continued to fight back. That is until lead scorers Monika Czinano and Clark picked up their fourth fouls. It would stall momentum, particularly, Clark’s controversial technical foul call after she tossed the ball off the court.
Caitlin Clark received a technical for this moment.
Do you agree? pic.twitter.com/yjxeDDTFU7
— ESPN (@espn) April 2, 2023
The life was sucked out of any Iowa momentum as LSU rallied off 10 more points pulling out to a 75-64 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Iowa got no closer than 11 points. LSU regained control and their dream of a title grew closer to reality.
A three-pointer by Iowa guard Kate Martin was followed by consecutive points from LSU’s Alexis Morris and a layup from forward LaDazhia Williams. It would extend the lead to 83-69. The came would come to a close at 102-85.
Iowa: Despite losing the National title game, Caitlin Clark was clearly the best player not only on the court but in the entire tournament. She finished with 30 points, eight assists, and two rebounds.
LSU: Sophomore guard Angel Reese finished with 15 points, five assists, and 10 rebounds as she captured her 34th triple-double, an NCAA single-season record.
Senior guard Alexis Morris had an incredible breakout game, breaking off 22 points, nine assists, and two rebounds coming off the bench in the first half.
Post Game Reaction
Thank God ! I’m Blessed Beyond Measure ‼️ https://t.co/JJyGNJvAtd
— Flaujae 4️⃣ (@Flaujae) April 3, 2023
Not A Dream pic.twitter.com/bvyQTIYlOR
— LSU Women's Basketball (@LSUwbkb) April 3, 2023