The LSU Tigers and the Iowa Hawkeyes punch their tickets to the National Championship. The game will happen Sunday at 3:30 pm and conclude the March Madness for the women’s bracket. Let’s dive into what led both teams to victory Friday night.
LSU Tigers Pounce On Virginia Tech
Kim Mulkey and her LSU Tigers will play for their first national championship after a massive rally in the fourth quarter leading them to a 79-72 victory over No. 1 seed Virginia Tech. No. 3 seed LSU overcame a nine-point deficit and held Virginia Tech scoreless for nearly six minutes. The Hokies were outscored 29-13.
The Tigers secured the victory with their stellar defense, which helped create points off turnovers in the game’s second half. The Tigers put the clamps on the Hokies, forcing them to commit 18 turnovers. Moreover, this is a Tiger’s team with nine new players, led by Angel Reese, Alexis Morris, and their all-true freshman, Flau’Jae Johnson. Reese and Morris accounted for 51 of LSU’s 79 team points (20 of 28 in the final quarter).
Angel Reese’s 24 points and 12 rebounds led her to record her 33rd double-double this season (T-most in D-I history). Reese just became the first player in the history of the Big Dance to accumulate 100 points, 70 rebounds, ten blocks, and ten steals in a single edition of the tourney.
ANGEL REESE. 24 PTS 12 REB 33 double-doubles 🔥 pic.twitter.com/4WKiNnQSnq — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 1, 2023
However, the Tigers still have something to work on; free throws. However, the team is second in the nation in free throws taken in a game, but somehow they manage to struggle from the line.
Iowa Hawkeyes Survive South Carolina Gamecocks
In a close game, Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes end the Gamecocks’ undefeated season 77-73. Clark is officially the first player in Division-1 history to have 1,000 points and 300 assists in a single season. In addition, she’s the first player to record back-to-back 40-point games in tournament history. The 21-year-old is arguably the best player in college, men and female.
Caitlin Clark’s NCAA Tournament so far R64: 26 pts 12 ast 7 reb R32: 22 pts 12 ast 3 reb S16: 31 pts 8 ast 3 reb E8: 41 pts 12 ast 10 reb F4: 41 pts 8 ast 6 reb And playing for a national championship. Gotta be the single best tournament player I have ever witnessed. — Ryan Hammer🔨 (@ryanhammer09) April 1, 2023
The Gamecocks didn’t go down without a fight. After being down 22-13 at the end of the first quarter, Zia Cooke continued to Cook in the second quarter as South Carolina walked into halftime with a one-point lead of 38-37.
South Carolina had foul trouble; Aaliyah Boston didn’t impact the game too much due to her early foul deficiencies. Monika Czinano had a great game finishing the game with 18, but she also had foul trouble. But in the end, Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes were just too much for Dawn Staley and her Lady Gamecocks.
Stadium Rant’s March Madness Predictions
Two teams will be in the national championship game for the first time in either program’s history. This is the first time the tournament hasn’t featured a No. 1 seed since 2011. If Iowa beats Mulkey and the Tigers, they’ll be the first Big Ten team to win a hoops title since MSU’s men in 2000.
Meech’s Prediction: LSU wins 77-76
“It will be hard for LSU to stop Caitlin Clark and Monika Czinano. The dynamic duo reached the milestone of 2,000 points (each) more than halfway through the season. If the Tigers want to succeed, they must have their best defensive game from their three guards. Reese will have to record a double-double, if not more. Morris needs another big game. Some way, somehow I think the Tigers can do just enough to squeeze by Clark. Give me LSU in a close one.”
Nolan’s Prediction: Iowa 77-LSU 68
“Iowa and LSU are in their first title game appearance, which is huge. LSU might have Kim Mulkey coaching, but Caitlin Clark for Iowa is the x-factor. Give me Iowa to win thanks to a historical game from the AP player of the year.”
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