Iowa Survived A Late Charge By UConn To Earn A Second Consecutive Trip To The National Title Game

A rematch from last year’s Final Four will determine this year’s national champion. After South Carolina handled business against NC State earlier in the evening in Cleveland, Iowa overcame a double-digit deficit in the first half to take down UConn and punch their ticket to the national title game on Sunday.

Despite an off shooting night from Caitlin Clark, the Hawkeyes were able to lean on Hannah Stuelke as their superstar struggled to find her shot. Stuelke’s presence inside — she scored 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the field and 5-for-7 shooting from the free throw line — gave Clark a chance to find her rhythm in the second half, where she scored 15 of her 21 points. In addition to that, Clark had nine rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.

In the game’s final minute with Iowa up, 70-66, it looked like UConn was preparing to play the foul game. Instead, it set up a crazy final 53 seconds, as the Huskies were able to force a turnover near midcourt that led to a Nika Muhl triple.

The Hawkeyes came down and tried to get the ball to Stuelke, but she turned the ball over and opened the door for the Huskies to pull off an upset. After a timeout, Geno Auriemma drew up a play to presumably get a look for Paige Bueckers, but a controversial foul call on Aaliyah Edwards gave the ball back to Iowa that drew the ire of LeBron James and Kelsey Plum.

Clark split a pair of free throws, but Sydney Affolter was able to come down with the ball. And after the tie-up, the possession arrow kept the ball on Iowa’s end of the floor, which opened the door for Clark to kill some clock by throwing the ball off of Bueckers’ back.

Iowa now moves on to take on South Carolina with a national title on the line. Last year, the two teams met in the Final Four in a game the Hawkeyes won, 77-73.