(CNN) of South Carolina The march to the national championship title looked all but certain — the defending champion and No. 1 seed was on a 42-straight game winning streak, spanning 389 days and winning last season’s national title.
It’s going to take one of the top NCAA programs to topple the Gamecocks, and that’s exactly what it should Caitlin Clark On Friday, he led second-seeded Iowa to a stunning 77-73 victory. Final Four over the undefeated defending champion at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
In all, Clark scored 41 points — a Final Four record for women — in front of more than 19,000 fans, following her 41-point triple-double in the Elite Eight.
The newly crowned AP Player of the Year had eight assists and six rebounds, as well as the final 13 points in the fourth quarter for the Hawkeyes, propelling them to their first NCAA title game in program history.
“All we did was trust each other,” Clark said on the ESPN broadcast after the game. “You know we can’t be tall, we know they’re going to beat us on the glass, but all we have to do is have some heart and some belief, you know we came up when we needed big plays, and I’m just so proud of this team.”
South Carolina guard Zia Cook had 24 points and eight rebounds, while star forward Aliyah Boston had eight points on 2-for-9 shooting from the field.
Meanwhile, no. No. 3 LSU outscored No. 1 Virginia Tech, 79-72, in the fourth quarter and advanced to its first national title game in program history, which would mean being crowned the new women’s NCAA national champion. Sunday.
The Tigers trailed by nine points entering the fourth quarter, but went on a 22-3 run to take a double-digit lead, 72-62, with three minutes remaining and hold on for the memorable win.
LSU guard Alexis Morris scored 27 points, and star forward Angel Reese added 24 points and 12 rebounds, including 20 of LSU’s 29 points in the fourth quarter.
“It’s like a dream. It still hasn’t hit me that I’m in the Final Four, I can’t even believe it now,” Reese said after the game. “It’s crazy how much my life has changed in one year. How much I’ve grown on and off the court, and then to be at this amazing program, LSU and then with my amazing teammates and amazing coaches. I don’t even know how to feel right now.”
LSU women’s head coach Kim Mulkey, a three-time national championship coach at Baylor in 2005, 2012 and 2019, became the second coach to lead two different programs to the national championship game.
“I’m blessed,” Mulkey said upon reaching the title game. “I came home for a lot of reasons. To hang a championship banner at PMAC one day. You never think you’re going to do something like this in two years.
“You think about all the men’s players that have played at LSU, you think about all the women’s players that have played. When they told me that no one had ever played in a national championship, I was amazed. That’s a feat. It’s a step in the right direction.” Mulki added.
Iowa and LSU will meet on Sunday, April 2 for the women’s national championship.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”