University of Iowa

LSU beats Iowa for program's first-ever national championship


LSU is officially a women's basketball school. All head coach Kim Mulkey needed was two years and nine new players to pull off the incredible turnaround.

The No. 3 Tigers won the program's first-ever national championship on Sunday, beating No. 2 Iowa 102-85 in Dallas. This comes two years removed from a 9-13 season, the year before Mulkey returned home to Louisiana.

The Tigers led for most of the game and it came from an unlikely source -- reserve guard Jasmine Carson. 

The graduate student came off the bench at the end of the first quarter, right as standout forward Angel Reese picked up her second foul. She hit a three to close out to LSU up 27-22, but Iowa mounted a comeback of their own and went on a 10-4 run to lead 31-32 early in the second quarter.

That didn't faze the short-handed Tigers. Carson proceeded to make four more 3-pointers to close out the half, including an acrobatic bank shot at the buzzer to put her team up 59-42. She finished with a team-leading 22 points and went 5-for-6 from the 3-point line.

Iowa kept trying to claw its way back into the game, but couldn't keep pace with the Tigers shooting and were forced to compete with multiple players in foul trouble. 

They cut the lead to single-digits on three different occassions, including a 12-0 run in the third quarter, but could never close the gap. During one of those runs, with LSU leading 73-64 in the third quarter, Caitlin Clark was hit with a controversial technical call for rolling ball out of bounds. This was Clark's fourth foul and sent Reese to the line to extend LSU's lead back to double digits.

Despite the loss, Clark continued to add to her pedigree, making eight 3-pointers -- a national title record -- and passing Sheryl Swoopes' record for most points in a single women's NCAA Tournament. The junior finished her six-game stretch with 191 points.

In addition to her game-leading 30 points, Clark recorded eight assists and six turnovers.

The Tigers finished the afternoon shooting a blistering 11-for-17 from 3-point range and getting 30 points off the bench. 
Reese, one of nine new players to the program this year, overcame the early foul trouble to finish with 15 points and 10 rebounds. She recorded a double-double in every game of the tournament and was named Most Outstanding Player.

This is the first national title for LSU and the fourth for head coach Kim Mulkey, who won three during her 18-year tenure at Baylor. 

She also won the inaugural national championship in 1982 as a point guard at Louisiana Tech.

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