LSU Caught Fire To Beat Iowa And Win Their First National Championship

The 2023 NCAA Women’s National Championship game was a highly anticipated matchup between LSU and Iowa, with stars Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark expected to take center stage.

However, in the first half neither were able to be the consistent story due to foul trouble that sidelined both, which meant there was opportunity for someone other than the big names to become the headliner. Luckily for LSU, Jasmine Carson was ready for the spotlight, as she stepped up to hit all seven of her first half shots, including five three-pointers as she led the Tigers to a 59-42 lead at the break.

Her final three of the half came at the buzzer on a wild bank shot to end the second quarter, which told the story of LSU’s opening half.

The Tigers seemingly could not miss against Iowa’s defense that was so focused on trying to deny paint touches to LSU’s bigs, that they let the guards have plenty of looks from deep. After executing the strategy to perfection against South Carolina, LSU was ready for Iowa and, most crucially, buried jumper after jumper as the Hawkeyes tried to pack the paint.

LSU would push their lead out over 20 points early in the second half, but then Clark and Iowa would mount their first big run of the game, as they started to see shots fall, steadily chipping the LSU lead down to single digits — with Clark setting the all-time women’s tournament record for points in a single tournament in the process.

However, while Iowa was able to make that initial run, they could never close the gap on the Tigers, because LSU simply continued making shots. Alexis Morris wasn’t part of the three-point barrage, but she piled up 18 points thanks to some silky pull-up jumpers from the midrange.

In the end, LSU piled up 102 points in a truly stunning offensive performance, taking down Iowa in a near perfect offensive performance. Reese, despite the foul trouble, finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists to earn her 34th double-double of the season, setting an NCAA record. Carson finished with 22 points, as her dominant first half off the bench was arguably the difference in the game, while Ladizha Williams added 20 for the Tigers. It was an all-time effort from the Tigers who collect their first women’s title in school history, capping off a truly impressive tournament run in style.

For Iowa, it’s a bitter end to a spectacular season, as they’ll certainly have frustration with the officiating, but given their choice of defensive system — which stymied South Carolina — a game in which LSU shot 11-of-17 from three was always going to be disastrous for them. Clark finished with 30 points and eight assists despite sitting for much of the second quarter with three fouls, and there’s certainly a question of whether the game would’ve gotten this out of hand with her playing her usual massive minutes load. Still, in a total team effort like LSU got offensively, it’s hard to imagine with that shooting this game goes much of a different way and, no matter any issue with officiating, it’s a performance Iowa fans have to just tip their cap to the Tigers on.