Caitlin Clark’s historic 40-point triple-double inspires Iowa to the women’s Final Four
By Thomas Schlachter, CNN
As she breaks records and dominates games, Caitlin Clark is having a season — and a March Madness — to remember.
The 21-year-old guard delivered a record-setting performance — 41 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists — in the Iowa Hawkeyes’ Elite Eight match-up against the Louisville Cardinals as she sealed her team’s ticket to the Final Four with a 97-83 win.
Clark ended the game with her 11th career triple-double and, in the process, became the first player in NCAA Tournament history — men’s or women’s — to record a 40-point triple-double.
In doing so, the junior also became the first player in Division I women’s basketball history to record more than 900 points and 300 assists in the same season.
The guard has had an incredible year for the Hawkeyes and has kept up this form throughout the month of March.
Clark’s dominance in the game was evident right from the start. The junior either scored or assisted on every single basket in the Hawkeyes’ 25-point first quarter.
Despite Clark’s display, the first-half was a tight affair between the Hawkeyes and the Cardinals, with the teams going into the break with Iowa leading 48-43.
In the third quarter, however, Clark and her Iowa teammates moved up another gear.
Thanks to a three-point barrage from Clark, Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin, Iowa outscored Louisville 30-16 in the third to seal the Hawkeyes’ place in the Final Four — just their second appearance in program history.
With 22.7 seconds left in the game, Clark came off the floor to a resounding ovation from the crowd at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and hugged her coach Lisa Bluder.
Despite the loss, Hailey Van Lith starred again for Louisville. The 21-year-old guard put up 27 points in the defeat after impressing throughout the tournament.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Clark touched on what it meant to reach the Final Four.
“I dreamed of this moment as a little girl, to take a team to the Final Four and be in these moments and have confetti fall down on me,” said the Iowa native.
“When I came here, I said I wanted to take this program to the Final Four, and all you’ve got to do is dream,” added Clark as No. 2 seed Iowa heads to Dallas, Texas, for the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament, where it will play the winner of No. 1 South Carolina and No. 2 Maryland on March 31 at the American Airlines Arena.
“And all you’ve got to do is believe and work your butt off to get there,” continued Clark. “That’s what I did, and that’s what our girls did and that’s what our coaches did and we’re going to Dallas, baby.”
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