SEATTLE — Caitlin Clark put on a show with 41 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to help No. 2 seed Iowa beat fifth-seeded Louisville 97-83 on Sunday and send the Hawkeyes to their first women’s Final Four in 30 years.
The unanimous first-team All-American was as dominant as she has been all season in getting the Hawkeyes to Dallas for the women’s NCAA tournament national semifinals Friday night. The Seattle 4 Region champion will face the winner of the Greenville 1 Region that has South Carolina playing Maryland on Monday night.
Iowa (30-6) hadn’t been to the Final Four since Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer led the team to its lone appearance in 1993. Before Sunday, the team had been to only one other Elite Eight — in 2019 — since that Final Four team.
Clark had the 11th triple-double of her career and the 19th in women’s NCAA tournament history. She also had the first 30- and 40-point triple-double in the tournament’s history.
“I thought our team played really well. That’s what it’s all about. I was going to give it every single thing I had,” said Clark, who was the region’s most outstanding player. “When I came here I said I wanted to take this program to the Final Four, and all you’ve got to do is dream. And all you’ve got to do is believe and work your butt off to get there. That’s what I did, and that’s what our girls did and that’s what our coaches did and we’re going to Dallas, baby.”
Trailing by five at the half, Louisville cut its deficit to 48-47 before Clark and the Hawkeyes scored the next 11 points as part of a 17-6 run to blow the game open. That brought most of the pro-Iowa crowd of nearly 12,000 fans to its feet.
Louisville was down 22 with just under 6 minutes left before going on a 13-1 run to get within 86-76 with 2:10 left. The Cardinals could get no closer.
Clark left the game with 22.7 seconds left and hugged coach Lisa Bluder.
“We might not be the most athletic, we might not be the fastest, we might not be the best defenders, but we play for one another. That’s going to take you really far,” Clark said. “That’s what it’s all about. Our circle is tight and more than anything we’re each other’s best friends. That will carry you a long way.”
Hailey Van Lith scored 27 points, and Olivia Cochran had 20 points and 14 rebounds to lead Louisville (26-12).