University of Iowa junior basketball player Caitlin Clark led her team to a regional championship Sunday night and a place in the Women’s Final Four later that week in Dallas. The way she did it is one for the record books.
Clark scored 41 points, racked up 10 rebounds and dished out 12 assists for the 11th triple-double of her career in her team’s 97-83 win over Louisville at the Seattle 4 Regional. It was only the 19th triple-double in tournament history. She also had three steals.
However, Clark’s performance Sunday night was the first triple-double to score 40 or more. This is a new plateau for both the men’s and women’s groups in the legendary March Madness.
However, it was not a done deal until the last minute. Clark was in the high 30s scoring and was stuck on nine rebounds with 11 assists. She hit the 40 point mark in the last minute and grabbed her 10th rebound to seal the deal. She was knocked out in the final seconds. As she exited the court, she gave Iowa coach Lisa Bluder a warm hug.
Clark led a run that helped her Hawkeyes overcome an early deficit and a five-point deficit at halftime to eventually take a commanding lead. She credited the bravery of her teammates.
“I thought our team played really well. It’s all about this. I wanted to give everything I had,” said Clark, who is an all-American first-team, Big Ten player of the year and a top nominee for the nation’s player of the year. “When I came here, I said I want to take this program to the Final Four and all you have to do is dream. And all you have to do is believe and work your ass 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.
Iowa is advancing into the Women’s Final Four for the first time since 1993, where they lost this season in overtime to No. 1-seeded Ohio State, 74-73. Now the Hawkeyes will take on Monday night’s Greenville Region winner between No. 1 South Carolina and Maryland at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Friday night. Undefeated South Carolina are the all-season defending champions and consensus top team in America, and a prohibitive favorite to win this year’s tournament.
Clark said Sunday night that while her team doesn’t have an intimidating stature, they make up for it in chemistry on and off the pitch.
“We may not be the most athletic, we may not be the fastest, we may not be the best defenders, but we play for each other. That’s going to take you really far,” Clark said. “That’s what it’s about. Our circle is narrow and most of all we are each other’s best friends. This will take you far.”
news week contacted the Iowa Sports Information Department for further comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/caitlin-clark-did-something-sunday-never-done-ncaa-history-men-women-1790391 Caitlin Clark did something Sunday has never done in NCAA history, men or women