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Mar 31, 2024 1:36 am

Women’s NCAA Tournament roundup: Caitlin Clark, Iowa reach Elite Eight

Caitlin Clark

ALBANY, N.Y. — Caitlin Clark scored a game-high 29 points to lead Iowa to an 89-68 win over Colorado on Saturday in the NCAA Tournament and set up a date with defending champion LSU in the Elite Eight.

Iowa (32-4), the No. 1 seed in the Albany 2 region, fell short of its season average score of 92.0 points per game but had plenty of firepower against the fifth-seeded Buffaloes (24-10).

Clark led a parade of scorers in double figures for the Hawkeyes, and she added six rebounds and 15 assists. Sydney Affolter had 15 points, Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin chipped in 14 each and Hannah Stuelke scored 11 and had a game-high 10 rebounds.

Monday’s game against LSU (31-5) – which defeated No. 2 seed UCLA earlier Saturday 78-69 – will be a rematch of last year’s national championship game, won 102-85 by the Tigers. Clark had 30 points with eight assists in that game, while LSU star Angel Reese contributed a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

No. 3 LSU 78, No. 2 UCLA 69

Flau’Jae Johnson scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, Angel Reese finished with 16 points and 11 boards and the Tigers upended the Bruins to advance to the Elite Eight to face Iowa on Monday.

The Tigers survived a frantic final few minutes that saw UCLA take a 67-64 lead, only to be held to just two made free throws the rest of the way. Aneesah Morrow added 17 points for the Tigers (31-5).

The Bruins (27-7) were attempting to reach their third-ever Elite Eight, having done so in 1999 and 2018. They were led in scoring by 14 points each from Lauren Betts, who added 17 rebounds and four blocks, Londynn Jones and Gabriela Jaquez.

PORTLAND 3 REGION

No. 1 Southern California 74, No. 5 Baylor 70

JuJu Watkins scored 30 points, including nine of the Trojans’ final 10 points, as they held off the Bears in Portland, Ore.

Rayah Marshall contributed 11 points and 16 rebounds and McKenzie Forbes scored 14 points for No. 1 seed USC (29-5), which advances to Monday’s Elite Eight against UConn (32-5).

Sarah Andrews scored 17 points, Jada Walker added 15 and Dariana Littlepage-Buggs chipped in 12 points and 11 rebounds for No. 5 seed Baylor (26-8).

No. 3 UConn 53, No. 7 Duke 45

Paige Bueckers scored 24 points and the Huskies grinded their way past the Blue Devils at the Moda Center, setting up a showdown with top-seeded USC on Monday for a trip to the Final Four.

UConn (32-5) used stifling defense to pull out its 12th straight win. The Blue Devils (22-12) shot 32.7 percent from the field, made only 4 of 19 shots from 3-point range and committed 23 turnovers. They scored only 13 points in the first half and were held to their second-lowest scoring total of the season.

The Huskies shot only 40 percent from the field and registered a worse percentage than Duke from beyond the arc (3 of 16, 18.8 percent). Nonetheless, they forged a 20-point lead in the third quarter and held on as Duke – which was led by Oluchi Okananwa’s 15 points – rallied down the stretch.

–Field Level Media

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