Caitlin Clark

South Carolina finishes undefeated season, defeating Iowa for national title

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Caitlin Clark’s 2022-23 season ended with a defeat in the national championship game, and her college career has ended the same way after South Carolina finished an unbeaten season with an 87-75 victory on Sunday.

Clark set an NCAA record with 18 points in the first quarter, but the Hawkeyes’ offense couldn’t finish the job as South Carolina’s bench helped guide them to an incredible victory, finishing a 38-0 season.

The Gamecocks’ bench outscored Iowa’s reserves 37-0, with Tessa Johnson scoring a team-high 19 points in the game. Kamilla Cardoso scored 15 points for the Gamecocks, and Te’Hina Paopao added 14 in the victory.

It was the end of an era for Iowa, as Clark and several of her teammates played their final collegiate games. Clark ended up with 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the game, while fellow senior Kate Martin chipped in 16 points. Sydney Affolter scored 12 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Hawkeyes fell one win short of a national title for the second consecutive season.

Iowa got off to a red-hot start in the first quarter, leading 20-9 after a pair of Clark free throws. Clark also knocked down a three-pointer late in the frame to give the Hawkeyes a seven point lead after 10 minutes of action.

South Carolina's offense came to life in the second quarter of the contest, scoring seven quick points to tie things up at 27-27. A back-and-forth struggle followed in the frame, with Paopao knocking down a three-pointer to give South Carolina a lead and Raven Johnson going coast-to-coast on a steal and a score to give the Gamecocks the 49-46 edge at the half.

South Carolina extended that lead to nine points at the end of the third quarter, and they continued scoring as Iowa staged a comeback. Affolter got the deficit to just five points with 4:30 left in the game, but Iowa couldn't get any closer as they fell in the title game for the second straight season.

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