Caitlin Clark led Iowa again to the nationwide championship recreation, scoring 21 factors because the Hawkeyes rallied previous Paige Bueckers and UConn 71-69 within the girls’s Final Four on Friday evening.

Next up for the Hawkeyes (34-4) is a rematch with unbeaten South Carolina, which misplaced to Iowa in final 12 months’s nationwide semifinals. The Hawkeyes then fell wanting successful the college’s first championship, falling to LSU within the title recreation. Now Clark is one win away from bringing her dwelling state its first girls’s basketball title within the last recreation of her faculty profession.

After a tough opening half-hour due to a swarming UConn protection, the NCAA Division I all-time main scorer lastly acquired going within the fourth quarter.

Connecticut v Iowa
Caitlin Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes within the first half through the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal recreation in opposition to the UConn Huskies at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 05, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio.

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With the sport tied at 51-all, Clark scored seven factors within the first 2 1/2 minutes of the interval to provide Iowa a small cushion. UConn (33-6) acquired inside 60-57 earlier than the Hawkeyes scored six straight to take a 66-57 benefit.

UConn trailed 70-66 earlier than Nika Muhl hit a 3-pointer after a steal with 39.3 seconds left to get the Huskies inside one.

Iowa’s Hannah Stuelke turned it over with 10 seconds left. UConn had an opportunity to take the lead, however Aaliyah Edwards was referred to as for an offensive foul whereas setting a display with 4.6 seconds left.

Clark made the primary of two free throws earlier than lacking the second. Teammate Sydney Affolter acquired the rebound and UConn tied her up, forcing a bounce ball. The possession arrow stored the ball with the Hawkeyes, who sealed the win by throwing the ball within the air to expire the ultimate seconds.

Connecticut v Iowa
Paige Bueckers of the UConn Huskies seems to be to move round Sydney Affolter of the Iowa Hawkeyes within the second half through the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal recreation at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 05, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio. Iowa defeated Connecticut 71-69

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Stuelke scored 23 factors to guide Iowa. Clark completed with 9 rebounds and 7 assists.

Bueckers and Edwards every scored 17 factors for the Huskies, who had been again within the Final Four after a one-year hiatus that ended their run of 14 straight seasons within the nationwide semifinals. This might need been one of the best teaching job by Geno Auriemma. UConn had hopes of successful the twelfth title in class historical past coming into the season, however these had been shortly dashed by a sequence of accidents that sidelined practically half of its roster.

But Bueckers, the nationwide participant of the 12 months as a freshman in 2021 who returned to that type after lacking a whole season and a part of one other with accidents, carried the Huskies again into title competition.

Connecticut v Iowa
Gabbie Marshall of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates after beating the UConn Huskies within the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal recreation at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 05, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio. Iowa defeated Connecticut 71-69

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UConn acquired going early behind Bueckers and stellar protection by Nika Muhl and her teammates, who swarmed Clark each time she touched the ball. The Huskies led by 12 factors within the second quarter.

Iowa trailed by six on the half earlier than getting going within the third quarter behind their star. She made her first 3-pointer of the sport 2 minutes into the interval, after which her four-point play acquired Iowa inside one. The Hawkeyes then took their first lead later within the interval proper earlier than Kate Martin acquired hit within the face by Edwards, leading to a bloody nostril. She ran off the court docket, leaving a path of blood behind her.

Martin was again on the Iowa bench earlier than they’d completed cleansing the court docket. She then hit three massive baskets down the stretch.

Clark had a tricky first half, scoring six factors whereas lacking all six of her 3-point makes an attempt. She barely acquired any open photographs and at occasions seemed annoyed. Iowa’s coaches stored shouting phrases of encouragement to their generational participant.

Even although she wasn’t scoring, Clark stored the Hawkeyes within the recreation with six rebounds and 4 assists because the Hawkeyes trailed 32-26 on the break.

Connecticut v Iowa
Hannah Stuelke of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates with the group after beating the UConn Huskies within the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal recreation at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 05, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio. Iowa defeated Connecticut 71-69

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