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Iowa and Clark arranged a rematch for the title game.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Let the anticipation begin!

Caitlin Clark showcased her prowess with 29 points and 15 assists, propelling top-seeded Iowa to an 89-68 victory over fifth-seeded Colorado in the women’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday. This victory sets the stage for a highly anticipated rematch of last year’s national title game against LSU.

“We’re really looking forward to it. Whenever you have the chance to face a team you lost to previously, it adds an extra level of excitement,” remarked Clark. “I believe it’s going to be a thrilling game for women’s basketball. LSU is a solid team across the board. We understand the importance of dominating the boards.”

The Tigers, who emerged victorious against UCLA in Saturday’s earlier semifinal in the Albany 2 Region, will face off against Iowa in Monday night’s championship showdown.

“I sense a lot of excitement surrounding this matchup,” commented Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder. “Both teams are exceptionally talented. It’s unfortunate that they’re meeting this early in the tournament. At this stage, every team remaining is formidable. LSU is definitely no exception. Expect a game filled with intense emotions and fierce competition.”

Clark ignited the Hawkeyes (32-4) from the start, displaying her versatility by driving to the hoop for easy layups and delivering spectacular passes. Although she attempted a couple of her trademark midcourt logo shots, she couldn’t quite find the mark.

In addition to her on-court excellence, Clark’s off-court presence has been equally impressive. As a transcendent player, she has significantly boosted ratings and attendance for the sport. The sold-out arena was packed with fans, both young and old, donning No. 22 Iowa jerseys, eagerly cheering for every move made by their favorite player. After the final buzzer, Clark took a few moments to sign autographs before heading back to the locker room.

Clark’s exquisite bounce pass to Hannah Stuelke for a layup just before the end of the first quarter extended Iowa’s lead to 22-14. By the end of the opening 10 minutes, Clark had accumulated 6 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds.

She continued her stellar performance in the first half, tallying 15 points and eight assists, as Iowa surged to a 48-35 lead at halftime.

Iowa seized control early in the third quarter, scoring the first six points, which prevented Colorado (24-10) from closing the gap to single digits for the remainder of the game.

“We came out strong in the third quarter, setting the tone early in both halves, which was crucial,” remarked Bluder.

Despite the loss, the Buffaloes made significant strides, making consecutive appearances in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002-03. They were eliminated by Iowa in the same round last year, falling 87-77.

Aaronette Vonleh contributed 13 points, while Frida Formann added 12 for the Buffs.

  1. “It’s disappointing to end the season like this,” reflected Colorado’s Jaylyn Sherrod. “There are things we can all learn from and areas where we could have performed better. Nevertheless, I’m proud of this team’s effort.”

 

 

 

Written by schooleiwa

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