NCAA women’s basketball champions

Written by: Jaylin Hardin | Sports Editor

The University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball program recently beat the University of Iowa, clinching their third national title and second title in three years. After losing to Iowa in the Final Four last season, the South Carolina Gamecocks have not lost a game since — the tenth perfect season in National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s basketball history. 

Iowa started in the lead for the game, with Caitlin Clark adding 18 points on the board for Iowa and another record to her name. Clark was the NCAA Division One all-time point scorer across both men’s and women’s basketball. 

But even Clark could not stop the powerhouse that was the Gamecocks’ basketball program. After ending the first half up by three, South Carolina paced the game and Iowa could not pull ahead. Some South Carolina players called the road to the championship a “revenge tour.”

Tess Johnson led the Gamecocks with 19 points on the night, but senior Kamilla Cardoso was truly the most valuable player of the game, boasting a double-double of 15 points and 17 rebounds. Te-Hina Paopao and Chloe Kitts both followed closely with 14 and 11 points on the night. 

Clark was not the only one who broke records — the game itself was a record breaker. Airing on network television for the first time since 1995, the game surpassed the men’s game by 4.1 million views — 18.9 million and 14.82 million views respectively. 

“You’re seeing the growth in many places: attendance records, viewership and social media engagement surrounding March Madness,” University of California, Los Angeles coach Cori Close said. “I don’t think you can attribute it just to Iowa, though. A rising tide does lift all boats. But I think all those boats have been on many different waterways. The product is really good, and the increase of exposure is getting rewarded.” UCLA lost to third-ranked Louisiana State University in the Sweet Sixteen. 

This game was also one of the most watched non-Olympic women’s sporting events on United States television, second only to the 2015 Women’s World Cup final between the USA and Japan.

This year boasts a large class of players who have amassed large followings and prospects to go professional: LSU’s Angel Reese, Cardoso and Clark are all top prospects for this year’s Women’s National Basketball Association draft. 

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