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South Carolina crowned national champions after beating Caitlin Clark’s Iowa in NCAA title game

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South Carolina rained on Caitlin Clark’s parade as the Iowa superstar failed to finish her college career on a high note with an NCAA championship victory ahead of the WNBA draft later this month- here, as the Gamecocks are crowned this year’s national champions.

Guards Tessa Johnson, Kamilla Cardoso and Te-Hina Paopao combined for 48 points in Sunday’s stunning 87-75 victory at Rocket Morgage FieldHouse – home of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers – to overcome Clark’s 30 special plays during his last match in history. the Hawkeyes.

Iowa (34-5) was powerful in the first quarter, outscoring its opponents 27-20, before undefeated South Carolina (38-0) made up for the 7-point differential at the end of the quarter in scoring 29 in the match. second, while the Hawkeyes only made 19.

Once the score was in favor of the Gamecocks at halftime (49-46), they never looked back, despite Clark’s near-double-double (8 rebounds), which caused some nerve-racking moments for the team. Dawn Staley’s team in fourth.

South Carolina ultimately scored 19 points each in the final two quarters, while the Hawkeyes had 13 in the third quarter and 16 in the final.

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark stands with her hands on her hips as she nearly won an NCAA title for a second straight year

Clark, 22 – the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer for men and women – made 10 of 28 shots – including 5 of 13 from 3-point range – and finished her four-year stay in Iowa City with 3,951 points. She also had five assists.

Despite Sunday’s loss to the Hawkeyes, Clark’s run to a second straight NCAA final helped turn the women’s tournament into must-see TV. Her performances set a new television audience record for women’s college basketball twice in the last week alone, with another record likely waiting after the title game.

She’s also tried to take her burgeoning stardom in stride, often deflecting much of the attention to her Iowa teammates and a sport that’s having a moment.

She always had the full attention of opposing coaches. And South Carolina’s depth proved too much in front of a sellout crowd. It’s not for lack of trying. This is never the case with Clark.

She fired, scoring 18 of Iowa’s final 20 points in the first quarter as the Hawkeyes took an early 27-20 lead. The Gamecocks used multiple defenders to try to keep up with Clark. It didn’t seem to matter. She knocked down three 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes, including a rainbow over the 6-foot-7 Cardoso.

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