Caitlin Clark’s 3rd-Quarter Offensive Show Proves Lights Out as Iowa takes down LSU, 94-87

Angel Reese has recorded her 10th consecutive double-double in the NCAA Tournament to tie the tournament record. PHOTO by LSU Athletics

The four logo 3-point bombs the best-ever offensive player hit during a dazzling third-quarter offensive performance when defending national champion LSU could manage making only five of 26 total shots proved to be the difference in the game.

Caitlin Clark scored 41 points and had 12 assists as Iowa knocked defending national champion LSU out of the women’s NCAA Tournament, 94-87, on Monday night, advancing the Hawkeyes to their second straight Final Four.

No. 1 seed Iowa (33-4) will play either UConn or Southern California in the national semifinals Friday night in Cleveland. LSU finished its season 31-6.

Monday’s highly anticipated matchup was a rematch of last year’s national championship game won by LSU, which drew a record 9.9 million viewers. Both teams wished that this meeting had come later in the tournament instead of with a Final Four berth at stake, but that was out of their control.

Clark, who also scored 41 points in the regional finals last year, and Angel Reese of LSU put on a memorable show for the sold-out crowd and the millions watching on ESPN.

With the game tied at 45 after an entertaining first half, Clark took over in the third quarter. The NCAA Division I all-time scoring leader hit four 3-pointers, each deeper than the previous one. Her fourth of the quarter, from her signature logo range, made it 61-52. It also was the 538th of her career which made her the all-time leader in that category among NCAA Division I players, passing Oklahoma’s Taylor Robertson.

Flau’jae Johnson scored 23 points for LSU (31-6), which fell short of becoming the first repeat champion since UConn in 2016. Reese finished with 17 points and 20 rebounds.

Last year’s National Championship rematch did not disappoint as it was one of the highest scoring games of the tournament this year. Star players Clark and Reese put on a show in front of a packed house that witnessed an all-time game in women’s basketball history.

LSU had won 72 consecutive games when scoring at least 80 points, but the streak came to an end Monday night.

Reese earned her 10th straight NCAA tournament double-double dating back to last year’s tournament. Reese finished with 17 points and 20 rebounds. Reese was dominant in the first half. Reese finished the season with 27 total double-doubles.

Aneesah Morrow finished with a double-double of her own for the 22nd time this season. Morrow scored 14 points and hauled in 14 rebounds in her first Elite Eight tournament game. Hailey Van Lith added 9 and Last-Tear Poa finished with 6.

Clark scored 41 of Iowa’s 94 points as she went 13-29 from the field, 9-of-20 from the three-point line. Clark added seven rebounds. It was her 13th career 40-point game. Kate Martin and Sydney Affolter scored in double figures adding 21 and 16, respectively. As a team, Iowa went 13-31 from the three point line to score 39 of its 94 points.

Iowa went 3-4 from the three-point line and 77.8-percent from the field to open the game with a 17-9 lead over LSU. The Hawkeyes scored two early turnovers that led to 5 points and effectively used ball screens to create three-point opportunities. After the media break, Poa hit a three that was followed by a Reese putback to put LSU within 3. Iowa held on to its lead through the middle of the quarter despite the Tigers steady effort. LSU took its first lead of the night as Reese put together a solo 6-0 run to go up 27-26. Johnson and Williams added to the run to make it a 10-0 run and end the quarter with a 31-26 advantage.

Van Lith opened the second with her first three, but Affolter snapped the 13-0 LSU run with the Hawkeye’s sixth triple. Reese exited the game with what looked to be a rolled ankle following a defensive effort down low. Reese entered minutes later and scored on a hook shot to make it 36-32. Clark put Iowa back within one with a spot up three deep behind the far wing. LSU held a 38-37 lead at the media timeout. After missing its last nine shots, Johnson broke LSU’s drought to tie things at 43 with 44 seconds to play. On the final play of the half Johnson was able to knot it up at 45 as she finished over a slew of defenders in the final seconds.

The 45-45 first half marked the highest scoring first half of the NCAA tournament so far this year. Clark finished the half with 19 points to lead all scorers and Reese followed with 13. Reese added 8 rebounds and three assists in the opening half. Iowa was 50-percent from the field and LSU went 46.3-percent.

Clark connected on a step-back triple to give Iowa a 6 point lead two minutes into the third quarter and forced an LSU timeout. After the break, Clark extended the Iowa run to 8-0 to give the Hawkeyes a nine-point lead, 58-49. LSU remained diligent, but Clark couldn’t miss and maintain Iowa’s nine point lead at the media timeout, 61-52. At the break LSU was shooting 2-15 to start the quarter while Clark was 4-6 from three-point range in the first six minutes. Iowa improved to a 15-3 run as it took its largest lead of the night with 13. LSU scored 6-straight to move the margin to 7 before the final minute of the quarter.

LSU started the quarter on a 5-0 run to get within six, but Iowa got back to a double digit lead within the first two minutes. The Tigers trailed by 11 at the final media timeout, 80-69. After the break, the Hawkeyes continued to match LSU and hold its lead. Reese fouled out with 1:45 to play. After falling back by as many as 14, LSU fought till the end bringing it within 7 with 7-seconds to play. Iowa made its free throws and held on to survive and advance.

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Tiger Rag News Services

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