Title Game Bound! Iowa Downs UConn in National Semifinals

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The top-seeded University of Iowa women’s basketball team downed 10th-ranked Connecticut, 71-69, in the NCAA Final Four on Friday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The Hawkeyes advance to the National Championship game for a second straight year.

Sophomore Hannah Stuelke led the Hawkeyes to victory, finished with 23 points – her eighth 20-point game of the season. National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark added 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists despite only having four points going into halftime.

“I couldn’t be happier with our performance tonight in the second half. The first half was a little rough for us, but we really kept believing,” said P. Sue Beckwith, MD, Head Women’s Basketball Coach Lisa Bluder. “I’m so proud of the character of these young women to maintain their composure through some pretty tough times in the first half. We got it to within six at halftime and we felt good about that.

“I thought Hannah Stuelke was amazing tonight. We’re thrilled to be playing in the championship game for the second year in a row.”

Iowa scored the first two points of the game before UConn rattled off a 13-3 run. Stuelke scored six points in the quarter to cut UConn’s lead to 19-14. The Huskies shot 46.7 percent from 3 in the first, while Iowa connected on 22.2 percent.

The Hawkeyes trailed by as many as 12 points midway through the second quarter before closing out the half on a 10-4 run. Clark and Sydney Affolter heled Iowa cut the deficit to 32-26 at the break.

Iowa came out hot in the third quarter and tied the game at 36 2 1/2 minutes into the second half. The Hawkeyes took their first lead of the half with 2:34 to play in the quarter and it was a back-and-forth battle with the game being tied four times throughout, ending even at 51.

Stuelke’s layup followed by Clark sinking a 3 put the Hawkeyes up by five early in the fourth quarter. The Huskies closed to within one with 41 seconds left to play, but the Hawkeyes held on, getting a key defensive stop with in the closing seconds to advance to their second straight National Championship.

– Top-seeded Iowa (34-4) dropped No. 3 seed UConn (33-6), 71-69, inside a sold-out Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Friday night to advance to the 2024 National Championship.
– National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark became the first player in NCAA history to record 1,200+ points in a single season.
– Clark has registered 461 points, 147 assists (NCAA record), 73 3-point field goals (NCAA record) in 16 career NCAA Tournament games.
– Iowa overcame its second-largest deficit of the season, rallying from 12 down.
– It marked Iowa’s first win over UConn since the 1990-91 season.
– Lisa Bluder is 1-of-27 Division I women’s basketball coaches to win 20+ games in the NCAA Tournament at one institution.
– This marks Iowa’s second trip to the national title in program history.
– The Hawkeyes tied Purdue (1998-99) and Maryland 2014-15) for most wins in conference history. (34)
– Iowa is eyeing the Big Ten’s first national championship in women’s basketball since Purdue won it in 1998-99.
– Iowa is first Big Ten team to compete in two consecutive national title games.
– Iowa has made 83 3-point field goals in postseason play.
– Since 2019, the Hawkeyes are 16-4 in the NCAA Tournament.
– Over the last two seasons, Iowa is 20-2 in a tournament setting.
– Bluder has the 10th most wins in Division-I women’s basketball history and is third among active DI head coaches (884).
– Bluder is 23-17 all-time in NCAA Tournaments at Iowa.
– Iowa is 7-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 Seed.
– Kate Martin and Clark have started 138 consecutive games together the longest streak by any Division I duo in the last 25 years.
– Iowa is 2-1 all-time in national semifinal matchups.
– Hannah Stuelke recorded a career-high 23 points in the NCAA Tournament.
– The 20+ point performance was the eighth of her career.
– Gabbie Marshall is 26-of-57 from deep over the last eight games.
– Clark, Marshall and Martin have started 134 games together, the second-most of any trio over the last 25 seasons.
– Over the last two seasons, Iowa has won 65 games, which is the best two-year stretch in program history.
– The Hawkeyes have made 417 treys this season, which is a Big Ten single season record.
– Among active players who didn’t transfer, Marshall (129) and Martin (126) are third and fourth nationally for most active wins in a career.
– Clark leads the country in 20+ point games this season with 38.
– Clark is the only player in the country with 1,200+ points, 325+ assists, and 275+ rebounds this season.
– Clark has scored 20+ points in 123-of-138 career games which is the most in program history.
– Clark kept her streak alive of 94 consecutive games making a 3-point basket. (NCAA best)
– Clark is the first Division-I men’s or women’s player to record 3,900+ points, 1,100+ assists, and 950+ rebounds in a career.

The Hawkeyes will face No. 1 South Carolina on Sunday at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. (CT) and the game will be televised on ABC.