Updated: Apr 4
She’s just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world. She took the Iowa Hawkeyes everywhere. Everywhere but title town. The culmination of the 2023 NCAA Women’s Final Four took place Sunday afternoon, April 2nd at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX with an amazing championship game between the LSU Tigers and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Wow! The crowd of 19,482 that were in attendance was treated to a superb contest. Caitlin Clark, Iowa’s own is the real deal. She hails from West Des Moines, Iowa, and her 3-pointers hail from anywhere on the court. She sank 4 long-range daggers in the 1st quarter alone, en route to a 30-point performance. Scoring 14 of the Hawkeyes 22 1st quarter points, it was evident that to win a championship on this day, she would need help from her bunker mates.
The 2nd quarter was a barrage of 3-pointers from both teams. Momentum was shifting back and forth between the LSU Tigers and the Iowa Hawkeyes, with the Tigers taking a commanding 17-point lead at one juncture. There were 9 lead changes and 4 ties. Clark went ice cold with only 2 points of the quarter coming from the free-throw line. However, her teammates were definitely up for the challenge and contributed on both ends of the court. Unfortunately, they could not match the bouncy energetic, guard, Jasmine Carson who scored 16 of her 21 first-half points. Hitting 5 of 5 3-point attempts, she was unconscious. She was the linchpin of 29 first-half Tiger bench points. The Hawkeyes could only muster 2 bench points in the half. LSU held the lead for 14 minutes of the half.
The second half began much the same way the 1st half ended, with the LSU Tigers in total control. But wait!!! Not so fast. The Hawkeyes got hot. The Tigers went cold. A lead that had ballooned to 21 points was cut to 8 in less than 5 minutes of gameplay. All of a sudden, Jasmine Carson's heat check went dormant. She wasn’t alone. The entire Tiger contingent followed suit. They went from a field goal percentage of 61.9% in the 2nd quarter, to a dreadful 33.3% in the 3rd quarter. Caitlin Clark righted the ship as well with 9 points in the 3rd. The Tigers feeling the pressure also faltered at the stripe with a free throw percentage of 50% to the Hawkeye's 100% from the line. Although the Tigers have held the lead for 24 minutes of game time, the feeling was unsteady to say the least. This 3rd quarter set us up for a heck of a final frame.
The Hawkeyes fought. Their defense was feisty. The Tigers of Louisiana were just way too much. With their lowest 3-point percentage of the game in the fourth quarter, 33.3%, the Hawkeyes just couldn’t overcome an LSU team who shot 66.7% from long distance. National Player of the Year, all-world guard Caitlin Clark finished with 30 points on 9 of 22 shooting from the field, 8 of 19 from deep, and 4 of 5 from the free throw line. She added 8 assists and 2 rebounds to a stellar effort. The Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, Angel Reese, with the help of Jasmine Carson, my vote for tournament MOP, LaDazhia Williams, and Alexis Morris dominated in the 2nd and 4th quarters to secure the 2023 title. The 102-point performance was more than anyone anticipated. Make no mistake about it. Although she did not win tournament MOP, Jasmine Carson was the difference in today’s game. She went 7 of 8 from the field, 5 of 6 from behind the arc, 3 of 4 from the free throw line, 3 assists, and a rebound for good measure. Her 2nd quarter was SPECTACULAR.
Kim Mulkey wins a National Championship in only her 2nd year at LSU. This is the first basketball championship, men or women, in school history. Say what you will about Mulkey. She’s a hot topic on everything from her wardrobe, to her on-the-court antics. Just make sure you add 4-time NCAA Women’s National Champion to whatever you say. Put some respek on her name.
- Ivan "King Dawk" Dawkins
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