LSU wins first women’s basketball title with record-breaking 102-85 victory over Iowa

DALLAS — LSU made history on Sunday as the Tigers claimed their first-ever women’s basketball national championship with a 102-85 win over Iowa in the NCAA Tournament final.

The Tigers (34-2) set a new record for the most points scored in a women’s title game, surpassing Baylor’s 97 points in 2019. They also tied the record for the most 3-pointers made in a final with 10, matching UConn’s mark in 2015.

LSU was led by senior guard Jasmine Carson, who came off the bench to score a game-high 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-7 from beyond the arc. Carson scored 21 of her points in the first half, helping LSU build a 17-point lead at the break.

“I just wanted to do whatever I could to help my team win,” Carson said after the game. “I was feeling it today and my teammates kept finding me open. It feels amazing to be a part of history.”

The Tigers also got a huge boost from junior guard Alexis Morris, who scored all of her 16 points in the second half. Morris hit four clutch free throws in the final minute to seal the win for LSU.

LSU coach Kim Mulkey became the first coach in women’s basketball history to win national titles at two different schools. She previously won three championships at Baylor in 2005, 2012 and 2019.

Mulkey took over a struggling LSU program in 2021 that had gone 9-13 in the previous season. In just two years, she transformed the Tigers into a powerhouse that went 15-1 in the SEC and won six straight games in the NCAA Tournament.

“This is a special group of young ladies,” Mulkey said. “They bought into our system and our culture and they worked hard every day. They deserve this moment. I’m so proud of them and so happy for LSU.”

Iowa (31-7) was making its first appearance in the national championship game after upsetting No. 1 seed South Carolina in the Final Four. The Hawkeyes were led by sophomore guard Caitlin Clark, who scored 30 points and hit six 3-pointers.

Clark, who was named the national player of the year by ESPN and The Associated Press, averaged 27.3 points per game this season and set a new NCAA Tournament record with 41 points against South Carolina.

However, Clark did not get much help from her teammates, as only one other Hawkeye scored in double figures. Iowa also struggled defensively, allowing LSU to shoot 54% from the field and 50% from 3-point range.

Iowa center Monika Czinano fouled out with 6:03 left in the game, while Clark picked up a technical foul late in the third quarter that gave her four personal fouls. The Hawkeyes never got closer than nine points in the second half.

Clark was responsible for all 18 of Iowa’s fourth-quarter points, via either score or assist, and she scored the final 13.

“You can just see it in her eyes,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said of Clark. “She just—she leans into those moments. She wants those moments.”

Clark said she was proud of her team’s effort and thanked the fans for their support.

“We fought until the end,” Clark said. “We never gave up. We just ran into a better team today. LSU played great and they deserved to win. I’m grateful for this experience and for my teammates and coaches.”

LSU celebrated its historic win by cutting down the nets and hoisting the trophy at American Airlines Center. The Tigers became the fourth team from the SEC to win a women’s basketball title, joining Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina.

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