March Madness: Caitlin Clark's historic triple-double leads No. 2 Iowa past No. 5 Louisville to Final Four

Iowa star Caitlin Clark

Caitlin Clark made even more history on Sunday night, and led the Hawkeyes to a Final Four for the first time in three decades.

No. 2 Iowa, behind a wild 40-point triple-double from Clark, rolled past Hailey Van Lith and No. 5 Louisville on Sunday in their Elite Eight matchup of the NCAA tournament. The Hawkeyes beat Louisville 97-83 at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle to secure a spot in the Final Four for the second time in school history, and the first time since 1993.

Clark's triple-double was the fifth of the season, and the 11th of her career. It's also the first 40-point triple-double ever recorded in the men's or women's NCAA tournament.

“I thought our team played really well, that’s what it's all about,” Clark said on ESPN. “I just wanted to give it every single thing I had. When I came here, I said I wanted to take this program to the Final Four. All you gotta do is dream, and all you gotta do is believe and work your butt off to get there, and that’s what I did. That’s what these girls did, and that’s what our coaches did, and we’re going to Dallas, baby.”

Caitlin Clark takes over after early Louisville run

Louisville jumped out to an 8-0 run to start the game, which actually handed the Hawkeyes their largest deficit of the tournament so far. Clark, however, flipped things completely by the end of the quarter.

Clark dropped 15 of her 41 points in the opening period, and scored or assisted on all 25 of Iowa’s points in the first quarter — which gave the Hawkeyes a 4-point lead at the break.

Iowa took a 5-point lead into halftime, and Clark accounted for 42 of the Hawkeyes’ 48 points in the first 20 minutes. It was Van Lith and Chrislyn Carr who kept the Cardinals in it early. Van Lith had 17 points in the first half, and Carr was a perfect 3-of-3 from the 3-point line. Van Lith put up 11 of her first-half points in the final 4:16 of the second quarter, too.

Louisville cut the game to just a single point right away in the third quarter, and then again to just 7 points at the midway mark. But each time Iowa rallied right back and pushed the game to double digits. Gabbie Marshall hit three 3-pointers in the period, her first points of the game, and the Hawkeyes ended the quarter on an 11-2 run while holding Louisville scoreless for more than three minutes to take a 19-point lead into the final quarter.

By then, the Cardinals were well out of it. They mounted a brief 13-1 run late in the fourth quarter, and held Iowa without a field goal for nearly eight minutes, but the Hawkeyes held on to close out the 14-point win.

Van Lith finished with 27 points for Louisville in the loss. Olivia Cochran added 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Carr finished with 11 points.

Clark makes NCAA history in win

Clark finished the night with 41 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, and was responsible for 70 of Iowa's 97 points.

She recorded her 17th double-double of the season, and recorded at least 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for the 18th time this season. The next closest player at the Division I level has done that just five times.

Clark also became the first ever Division I player, man or woman, to score at least 900 points and record at least 300 assists in a single season.

McKenna Warnock added 17 points and 5 rebounds in the win, and Marshall finished with 14 points. Iowa shot almost 54% from the field and went 16 of 35 from behind the arc as a team.

Iowa will now take on either No. 1 South Carolina or No. 2 Maryland in the Final Four in Dallas on Friday. Iowa went 2-1 against Maryland, and got its last win over the Terps to make the Big Ten championship game. The Gamecocks enter Monday’s game with Maryland with a perfect 35-0 record behind the other Player of the Year candidate Aliyah Boston.