A first-time champion will be crowned Sunday after a thrilling Final Four produced an unexpected national title game.
Women’s NCAA Tournament Finals No. 2 Iowa (31-6) No. 3 will face LSU (33-2), both teams coming off exciting wins against a pair of No. 1 seeds on Friday night.
The Hawkeyes stunned defending national champion South Carolina, who entered the game on a 42-game winning streak, as Kaitlin Clark led the way with 41 points along with the final four. LSU, led by three-time national champion coach Kim Mulkey, pulled past Virginia Tech with an incredible fourth quarter.
For live updates throughout the Women’s National Title Game, follow:
Hawkeyes, Tigers are in the women’s title race
The hype is over. Now it’s time for the players to decide who is the best.
Follow the madness: Latest Women’s NCAA Tournament College Basketball Scores and Schedules
National Player of the Year Kaitlin Clark led Iowa throughout the NCAA Tournament, averaging 32.2 points per game in the Hawkeyes’ five wins.
Meanwhile, Angel Reese is dominant for LSU, averaging 22.7 points per game and controlling things inside.
Who will win the national championship? We’ll find out in the next 40 minutes (or so).
First lady Jill Biden takes part in the women’s title game
National champions don’t need to go to the White House. The White House came to them.
First Lady Jill Biden was at Sunday’s NCAA women’s title game between LSU and Iowa. He and President Joe Biden are longtime fans of women’s basketball, and the president attended several NCAA Tournament games when Elena Delle Donne played for Delaware.
Biden also went to the men’s Final Four in 2016 when he was vice president.
The First Lady was spotted in the box opposite the team benches with tennis legend Billie Jean King and his wife Ilana Kloss.
– Nancy Armour
What time does the Women’s National Championship game start?
The women’s NCAA tournament finals are about to begin 3:30 p.m. ET and broadcast ABC. Streaming is available via Watch ESPN and ESPN+.
LSU coach Kim Mulkey chooses tiger print for Tiger game attire
DALLAS — There’s no denying that Kim Mulkey is going to pull out all the stops when it comes. What she’s going to wear to the national championship game.
The LSU women’s basketball coach didn’t leave everyone scrambling to see what she was going to wear next.
For the Tigers’ matchup with Iowa for the national title, Mulkey donned an all-Tiger-striped pantsuit, fully reversible, with two-tone sequins.
While many fans were disappointed by the lack of flair in the Elite Eight outfit he wore in last weekend’s win over Miami in Greenville, South Carolina — an ensemble that featured a subdued but cropped jacket with white pants — Mulkey stepped up again. Her final four match is a hot pink jacket with large pink flowers on the sleeves from the shoulders to the wrists.
– Corey Diaz, Lafayette Daily Advertiser
Betting Guide: Iowa Hawkeyes favorite in women’s final
The craziest matchups will conclude on Sunday with No. 2 Iowa (31-6) and No. 3 LSU (33-2). Here are some odds for Sunday’s national championship game. All odds are according to DiBico.
Iowa is a minus-170 favorite against LSU, a plus-145 underdog.
What is the prevalence?
Iowa is favored by 3 1/2 points over LSU.
What is up/down?
The Iowa-LSU game’s over/under is listed at 157 1/2 points.
Iowa star Kaitlyn Clark, like Steph Curry, has redefined what a good shot is in basketball.
DALLAS — Sometimes during games and often during practice, there are times when Iowa coach Lisa Bluder’s jaw drops.
Did Caitlin Clark really hit that shot, thread, or finish that layup in transition?
Yes, she did, and she does – usually. And it’s as spectacular as you can imagine. Maybe more.
Clarke, the consensus 2023 National Player of the Year, has become one of the game’s biggest stars and a walking highlight reel because how did she look?! Passes and unlimited shooting range. But as talented and awe-inspiring as Clark is, Bluder deserves some credit. Because she lets Clark be who she is.
But as Bluder admits, relinquishing control took time.
– Lindsay Schnell
LSU’s Alexis Morris calls Kaitlyn Clark’s defense ‘disrespectful’ ahead of title game
In the Women’s Final Four, the entire basketball world was awestruck by Caitlin Clark’s stunning performance and swagger as Iowa took down previously unbeaten South Carolina.
One that isn’t impressed, however, is playing for Iowa’s next opponent, LSU. The Tigers stand in the way of hockey and one of the most incredible headlines the game has ever seen.
More specifically, Tigers guard Alexis Morris didn’t think Clark could dare LSU to shoot from behind the arc like it did against Camcox.
“I didn’t think they could defend us like that,” Morris said. According to Sports Illustrated. “I don’t think you can leave me open on the perimeter or leave us open on the perimeter. Personally, I find that very disrespectful, so I’m personally going to go into that game. You’re going to have to defend us. That’s the competitor in me and the will to win.”
– Blake Shuster, for the win
Comment: Caitlin Clark, Iowa needs to finish the job
DALLAS — Friday night’s victory brought Kaitlyn Clark home Iowa’s first national championship. The Hawkeyes meet LSU Sunday afternoon in one of the most anticipated and unlikely title games in women’s basketball history.
Want proof of how in demand this game and this player is? In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, tickets to Sunday’s national championships are more expensive than tickets to Sunday’s sold-out Taylor Swift show.
Another difference besides ticket price: Swift will be playing the same show in dozens of arenas around the world. But for Clarke & Co, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. That means they should seize the moment.
At the very least, it was notable that Iowa beat heavily favored, undefeated and overall No. 1 seed South Carolina this year. The Hawkeyes have slain the giant – but now they must take the fort and the championship trophy.
– Lindsay Schnell
Morris’ reunion with Mulkey features an NCAA title game finale at LSU
Alexis Morris finished her college career playing in the national championship game for Kim Mulkey. The coach who kicked the standout guard from another team five years ago.
For Morris, it’s been a journey of growth and maturity since his freshman season at Baylor and through two other programs before reuniting with Mulkey at LSU before culminating on the biggest stage.
“Every player has their coach. Coach Mulkey, he’s my coach,” Morris said Saturday. “I asked God, if you ever give me the opportunity (to play for her again), I’ll never waste it. I’ll really maximize it, maximize the opportunity, and you’re a witness to that.”
Mulkey knew Morris when he was in seventh grade at a private school in Beaumont, Texas. It was a tough decision to cut him from Baylor’s team in September 2018, which was called an unspecified violation of team rules. The school did not provide any details, and they were not publicly briefed by Mulkey or Morris, although the player accepted responsibility for what he called a “juvenile mistake.”
– Associated Press
Iowa’s Caitlin Clark has been stealing the show with performance for years
DALLAS — Aaliyah Boston and Caitlin Clark can’t live up to the conflict. Not after two years of anticipation and sky-high expectations.
It was even better.
Clark met that moment and then performed a few on Friday night over the years. Instead of cringing under pressure, he shined, draining 3-pointers, breaking ankles and firing pinpoint passes that only South Carolina could see. He finished with 41 points and eight assists in a 77-73 victory over Iowa that snapped the defending champion’s 42-game hitting streak and sent the Hawkeyes to their first national title game.
“I think she’s the greatest basketball player in America. I don’t think there’s anybody like her,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “She had the ball in her hands all night against some really good defenders.”
– Nancy Armour
The Women’s Final Four delivers big ratings for ESPN
Ratings were expected to be high as South Carolina’s Aaliyah Boston and Iowa’s Kaitlyn Clark faced off in the women’s final four on Friday night.
They set the record for ESPN, the network announced Saturday.
ESPN, which aired both NCAA Tournament semifinal games, saw the LSU-Virginia Tech opener average 3.4 million viewers compared to 5 million viewers on network platforms. That’s a 57% increase from last year’s opening game.
Iowa-South Carolina averaged 5.5 million to 6.6 million, a 72% increase from last year’s late game.
Both games drew record audiences for a college basketball game — men’s or women’s — on ESPN+, the network said.
– Mike Frame
South Carolina star Aaliyah Boston declared for the WNBA draft
South Carolina star Aaliyah Boston declares for the WNBA draft. He is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick.
“At this moment, I am truly holding my breath as I make the next best decision of my life,” Boston said in a statement. “I have decided to further my dream by declaring for the 2023 WNBA Draft.”
– Jaylen Thompson
Dan Staley calls out national media, Iowa coach’s ‘bar fight’ comments
DALLAS – Dan Staley said enough is enough.
The South Carolina women’s basketball coach was asked about the way her team was publicly labeled for their physical style of play after their Final Four upset by Iowa. Staley set the record straight about his team, saying it “exemplifies how you approach basketball on and off the court.”
“We’re not bar fighters. We’re not thugs. We’re not monkeys. We’re not street fighters,” Staley said. “I think that’s brought into play sometimes, and it hurts.”
— Cora Hall, Knoxville News Sentinel