South Carolina
Apr 7, 2024; Cleveland, OH, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the finals of the Final Four of the womens 2024 NCAA Tournament at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina Wins Third National Title Over Iowa

The NCAA Women’s Basketball season concluded Sunday afternoon with South Carolina (39-0) completing its perfect season and winning the program’s third national title over Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes 87-75.

The Setup

Iowa fell in last year’s title game to LSU 102-85. After beating LSU in the Elite Eight, the Hawkeyes were looking to win their first national title in program history.

South Carolina looked to finish out its perfect season after beating North Carolina State 78-59 in the Final Four.

First Half

Iowa got off to a quick 5-0 start thanks to back-to-back baskets from Kate Martin. The Hawkeyes continued to increase their lead, as a 3-pointer from Caitlin Clark made it 10-0 Hawkeyes. South Carolina continued to battle back. Iowa led 27-20 at the end of the first quarter.

A 3 from Tessa Johnson tied the game 34-34 four minutes into the second quarter. The Gamecocks then took a 36-34 lead with a basket from senior center Kamilla Cardoso. Iowa responded with Martin making it 41-37, but South Carolina’s Te-Hina Paopao made it a one-point deficit with a 3. Clark made a 3-pointer of her own to make it 44-40.

With about a minute left in the half, it was tied 44-44 and Martin put the Hawkeyes up 46-44. A 3 from Paopao gave the Gamecocks a 47-46 lead. Excellent defense from USC’s Raven Johnson led to a steal and a basket to put them up 49-46 at the half.

Second Half

South Carolina began to slowly break away in the second half. They never trailed in the half, but Iowa kept pushing back. A basket from Clark made it 57-55 Gamecocks with four-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter, but South Carolina continued to have responses. Clark hit a 3-ball to make it 76-67 Gamecocks three minutes in the fourth quarter. South Carolina continued to pull away with Cardoso making a basket to put them up 83-75 with a little less than three minutes left in the game. From there, it was all Gamecocks as they went on to score four more.

As the final buzzer sounded, South Carolina came away with a 87-75 victory and claimed its third national title, becoming the 10th team to finish a perfect season.

Clark finished her final college game with 30 points and eight rebounds.

Postgame, sha said it was disappointing that it was her last time putting on an Iowa jersey, but she was proud of herself and her team.

The WNBA draft will be next Monday where Caitlin Clark is projected as the No. 1 overall pick.

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