Caitlin Clark scores 41, Iowa upsets top seed South Carolina; LSU beats Virginia Tech
March 31, 2023 Updated Fri., March 31, 2023 at 10:23 p.m.
Iowa’s Caitlin Clark reacts after scoring 41 points Friday in a 77-73 win over South Carolina during the Final Four in Dallas. (Tribune News Service)
Tribune News Service
Iowa upset previously unbeaten South Carolina 77-73 in the Final Four at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Friday.
Iowa took control of the game early. The Hawkeyes found easy runs to the rim on pick and rolls, finding holes in the South Carolina defense.
Iowa’s Caitlin Clark – the Naismith National Player of the Year – scored 19 of her game-high 41 points in the first half. She also finished with eight assists and six rebounds. Iowa’s Monika Czinano complemented Clark with 10 of her 18 points in the first half.
South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston (eight points, 10 rebounds) picked up two first-quarter fouls and remained on the bench for the rest of the first half. Kamilla Cardoso (14 points, 14 rebounds) filled in well, controlling the offensive glass and scoring over smaller Iowa players.
South Carolina looked a bit out of character to start the third quarter. The team didn’t move the ball around as much as it usually does, and Iowa quickly went up by nine points at the 7:01 mark.
The Gamecocks weathered the storm and trimmed the lead to four points heading into the fourth.
Boston briefly cut the lead to one point with a layup, but a Clark 3-pointer put the Hawkeyes back up by two points.
LSU beats Virginia Tech in other semifinal
Angel Reese scored 24 points on 11-for-19 shooting from the field and grabbed 12 rebounds as LSU rallied from a 12-point third-quarter deficit to beat top-seeded Virginia Tech 79-72 . With all of women’s college basketball world watching, LSU advanced to the national championship game for the first time after outscoring top-seeded Virginia Tech 29-13 in the fourth quarter.
Reese’s layup early in the fourth quarter brought LSU to within two, and another layup not long after cut Virginia Tech’s lead to one. When freshman Flau’jae Johnson got a steal and layup with 5:44 remaining, LSU had its first lead since the second quarter.
Reese extended the lead to 68-62 with a putback with 4:20 remaining, then added two free throws to make it an eight-point advantage. Her layup with 1:36 left gave LSU a nine-point advantage and sealed the deal.
Reese got plenty of help from fifth-year senior guard Alexis Morris, who previously played at Baylor (under coach Kim Mulkey), Rutgers and Texas A&M. Morris, who averages 14.9 points and was coming off a 21-point game in the Elite Eight against Miami, scored a game-high 27 points as LSU continued its turnaround under coach Mulkey following a nine-win season two years ago.
As Morris dribbled out the clock, LSU players converged and shared hugs and chest bumps. Morris went over the media table, hopped up and lifted her arms in celebration, encouraging the raucous crowd of LSU fans to get even louder.
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