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South Carolina Takes Care Of Caitlin Clark’s Hawkeyes To Win The National Championship

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Photo Credit: 4.0 Sports Media

Cleveland, OH—South Carolina’s women’s basketball team achieved redemption and perfection with a resounding victory over Iowa in the national championship game. Freshman Tessa Johnson’s stellar performance, scoring a career-high 19 points, propelled the Gamecocks to an 87-75 triumph, avenging last season’s loss to the Hawkeyes in the semifinals. Kamilla Cardoso chipped in 15 points, 17 rebounds and walked away with the tournament MVP.

No. 1 (38-0) South Carolina, which suffered its only loss of the past two seasons against Iowa at last year’s Final Four, has claimed two of the past three national championships.

The Gamecocks smothered Iowa’s hope for its first championship title in the second half with their intense and physical defense.

It was the final game in the college career of Iowa Hawkeyes star Caitlin Clark, who broke Division I scoring records for both women and men, and who is probably be the first pick of the WNBA in another week. She finished the game with 30 points.

This win capped off an impressive undefeated season, making South Carolina the first women’s college basketball team since UConn’s 2015-16 squad to achieve such a feat. Under coach Dawn Staley’s leadership, this marked South Carolina’s third national title. Johnson’s standout performance, alongside double-doubles from Kamilla Cardoso and Chloe Kitts, contributed to the team’s success.

No. 1 Iowa (34-5) believed the ending would be a little different, leading 7-0 before Clark took her first shot but South Carolina would make a few adjustments and went to work on Clark and her sidekicks.

“I’m so incredibly happy for our players,” Staley said. “It doesn’t always end like you want it to end, much like last year.”

Photo Credit: 4.0 Sports Media

Despite Iowa’s strong start, South Carolina’s top-ranked defense turned the tide, leading to a decisive victory. The Gamecocks’ dominance on the boards and contributions from the bench highlighted their depth and strength as a team. While Caitlin Clark’s remarkable talent has left a lasting impact on women’s college basketball, she fell short of leading Iowa to victory against South Carolina.

South Carolina had a 14-point lead cut to five points with 4:12 remaining in the game, but Iowa wouldn’t score again, ending the Hawkeyes chances to hoist the NCAA championship trophy in what’s expected to be the most-watched game in the sport’s history.

Staley, after accepting the trophy along with her team, congratulated Iowa for an “incredible season,” and she singled out Clark.

“I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for lifting up our sport,” Staley said. “She carried a heavy load for our sport. And it’s just — it’s not going to stop here on the collegiate tour, but when she is the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, she’s going to lift that league up as well.”

“So, Caitlin Clark, if you’re out there: You are one of the GOATs of our game, and we appreciate you,” Staley said, using the acronym for “greatest of all time.”