LSU beats Iowa to win its first NCAA women’s basketball championship

CNN  — 

The LSU Tigers defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 102-85 Sunday to win the program’s first NCAA women’s basketball national championship in Dallas, Texas.

LSU shot a blistering 58% from the field in the first half, including 75% from three-point range.

The Tigers’ 59 first half points set a new record for most points scored in a half in a women’s championship game and gave LSU a 17-point lead headed to the locker room.

The Tigers’ first-half barrage was sparked by Jasmine Carson, who came off the bench to score 21 points for LSU in the opening half, including a perfect five of five on three-pointers. Carson finished with 22 points to lead the Tigers.

After the game, Carson described the game as “surreal.”

“Every player dreams of being on a big stage like this and having the game of your life, and for it to come to fruition – it meant a lot,” she said.

LSU’s 102 points also set a new record for most points scored by a team in a women’s championship game.

Iowa star Caitlin Clark led all scorers with 30 points in the game, setting a new record for most points scored in a women’s tournament in the process with 191. The 2023 national player of the year broke the previous women’s record of 177 points set by Sheryl Swoopes in 1993 playing for Texas Tech. Swoopes set the record playing in fives games compared to Clark’s six game total.

Hall of Fame coach Kim Mulkey was emotional during the game’s final seconds as she secured LSU’s first women’s basketball championship in just her second year at the helm for the Tigers.

“Coaches coach a lifetime and this is the fourth time I’ve been blessed,” an emotional Mulkey, having won her fourth NCAA women’s basketball national championship after claiming three during her time at Baylor, told ESPN.

“Never in the history of LSU basketball, men or women, have they ever played for a championship and to win it, I think my tears are tears of joy. I’m so happy for everyone back in Louisiana.”

The Tigers became just the third No. 3 seeded team to win the title and the first since 1997.

A crowd of 19,482 was in attendance to watch LSU’s victory; according to the NCAA, over 350,000 have turned out to watch the women’s March Madness which is a record for the competition.