Women's NCAA tournament - Caitlin Clark shoots Iowa past LSU and into Final Four

Ros Gold-Onwude and Isis Young react to the superstar guard’s 41-point game as the Hawkeyes knock out the defending champions to return to the Final Four for the second straight season.

Video Transcript


ROS GOLD-ONWUDE: Number one seed Iowa is on to the Final Four after beating number three LSU 94 to 87. Ise, this game had all the hype around it. It had all the eyes on it. And it delivered from start to finish in firepower, in shotmaking, in stars showing up, stepping up. Both teams were ready to play. But of all the stars, one star shined the brightest, and that was Caitlin Clark. She had a near-triple-double of 41 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds. She made nine 3-pointers in the game. And the game was actually tied up at 45 at halftime, but it felt like, in that third quarter, she came out swinging. She exploded. What did you see in how she took over?

ISIS YOUNG: Man, man, man, it was such a treat to watch her six 3's in the second half. And I really think that was the difference, the fact that she just decided to put the team on her back, like we've seen her do time and time again, and knock down 3's from the outside. LSU did not have an answer for her defensively. I think they tried some things, some unorthodox things to do on her, but it did not make a difference. Really impressed, but honestly not even surprised.

I feel like this is Caitlin. Something in me said, she's not going to allow what happened last year to happen this year. She is-- she's too much of a competitor and too good of a 3-point scorer to let that happen. And she dropped 41 and was like, I'm getting my team to the Final Four. Let's talk about it.

ROS GOLD-ONWUDE: I want to come back to the way she scores. You said those 3's were the difference-maker. I think it's also the range of the 3's, how far out they are. It's devastating, or how she dribbles you in a circle-- poor Hailey Van Lith, running around, trying to chase her. Or after you've all keyed in on her, her hitting that nice bounce pass to a teammate or her kicking the ball up the court for pace and runouts. It's devastating to the other team. I'm curious. Were you surprised that Hailey Van Lith was kept on her defensively throughout the game? I know that was a big talking point for a lot of people watching.

ISIS YOUNG: Yeah, absolutely absolutely. I think on any great scorer, you have to mix up match-ups with them. And I just felt like they should have mixed up her match-up. I think Flau'Jae Johnson should have been someone who was athletic, who has tenacity, defensively, to guard her. My thought is that Kim Mulkey was trying to save Flau'Jae and trying not to maybe expend all of her energy guarding Caitlin so that Flau'Jae could also score. But you're going home now.

You don't have any energy after this. They had to leave it all on the court. And I did feel like there should have been some different matchups given to Caitlin or even just-- at [GARBLED AUDIO] screen, doubling her, getting the ball out of her hand. Make her a passer not a scorer. It just felt like LSU didn't have enough defensive schemes for Caitlin Clark, a player that they've seen before and beat before. Should have been better.

ROS GOLD-ONWUDE: Right, right, right. She certainly demands that kind of attention. And Hailey Van Lith really was left on an island. One thing I will say for Flau'Jae, she did have foul trouble in that second half. She had the 3 fouls. And that was something that had to be navigated as well. But hey, LSU brought it, especially to start the game. It was Angel Reese who was on fire in that first quarter. She finished the game with a 17-point, mindblowing 20 rebound double-double, 3 blocks as well. But she had an ankle injury that was suffered, and early in that second quarter. And it really seemed to impact her.

She started the game shooting 6 for 8 from the field, so hot. But then she finished 1 for 13 the rest of the way. I mean, how important, or disastrous, really, might that injury have been?

ISIS YOUNG: Yeah, I think disastrous is actually the perfect word. I mean, I think momentum is such a thing that you want behind you in March. And it felt like Angel Reese and LSU had the momentum at that point when she was shooting from such a high clip. And then to get that injury, to go 1 of 13, to not score as much as she normally does-- she wasn't really a focal point for them offensively down the stretch. I just think it hurts when you have the SEC Player of the Year that is just not connecting in the second half and scoring buckets.

ROS GOLD-ONWUDE: Yeah. And some more reasons for Iowa as well, teammates, players stepped up. Kate Martin, 21 points for the Hawkeyes, Sydney Affolter, 16 points. When the brackets came out, they said, Iowa's got the toughest path to the Final Four. Well, they advanced. They're going. This is Iowa's third Final Four, their second in a row. Tonight marked Caitlin Clark's 13th 40-point game. And she broke the record for the most career 3-pointers in women's D1 history. Additionally, her nine total 3's tonight ties the NCAA Tournament record. Woo! She put in work.