LSU's pursuit to repeat falls short in loss to Iowa

On3 imageby:Shea Dixon04/01/24


The No. 3 LSU Tigers’ season came to an end on Monday night inside a sold out MVP Arena in an Elite Eight loss to No. 1 Iowa, 94-87. 

“I’m going to feel very proud,” Coach Kim Mulkey said of her third season leading the Tigers. “I’m going to think of the little things that we overcame, that put us in an Elite Eight. You’re one game away from going back to the Final Four. I’m going to eventually think of how did we get here. How did we get here? What did we do as a team and as a staff to get to this moment? So basically I guess what I’m telling you is you learn. You learn. I learn every day as a coach.”

Last year’s National Championship rematch did not disappoint as it was one of the highest scoring games of the tournament this year. Star players Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese put on a show in front of a packed house that witnessed an all-time game in women’s basketball history. 

“I think it’s just great for the sport, just being able to be a part of history,” Angel Reese said. “Like I said, no matter which way it went tonight, I know this was going to be a night for the ages. And just being able to be a part of history is great. Playing against another great player, of course, is always amazing, and our viewership going up. And I’m sure so many different people watched us tonight. I’m happy to be here, I’m happy to keep raising women’s sports, not just women’s basketball but women’s sports in general.”

Going into halftime, the teams were tied at 45, but Iowa outscored the Tigers 24-13 in the third quarter. LSU cut it down to seven points a couple of times, but was unable to inch any closer as Iowa hit crucial buckets to keep its lead. LSU had won 72 consecutive games when scoring at least 80 points, but the streak came to an end Monday night.

“Those everyday things we do in practice that,” Flau’Jae Johnson said. “Bad pass here, turnover here, defense, missed execution, transition. So it’s going to be things that we’ve got to clean up when we take that on the chin.”

Angel Reese earned her 10th straight NCAA tournament double-double dating back to last year’s tournament. Reese finished with 17 points and 20 rebounds. Reese was dominant in the first half as she carried the Tiger offense to keep LSU tied at the half. Reese finishes the season with 27 total double-doubles. 

Johnson led the Tigers with 23 points on 10-18 from the field and 6 rebounds. Johnson continued an impressive tournament run as she has scored 20 points or more in her last three games. The Sophomore has provided energy and experience all tournament long. 

Aneesah Morrow finished with a double-double of her own for the 22nd time this season. Morrow scored 14 points and hauled in 14 rebounds in her first Elite Eight tournament game. Hailey Van Lith added 9 and Last-Tear Poa finished with 6. 

Caitlin Clark scored 41 of Iowa’s 94 points as she went 13-29 from the field and an astonishing 9-20 from the three-point line. Clark added 7 rebounds and 12 assists in her 13th career 40-point game. Kate Martin and Sydney Affolter scored in double figures adding 21 and 16, respectively. As a team, Iowa went 13-31 from the three point line to score 39 of its 94 points. 

“She’s just a generational player, and she just makes everybody around her better,” Coach Mulkey said of Clark. “That’s what the great ones do.”

Iowa went 3-4 from the three-point line and 77.8-percent from the field to open the game with a 17-9 lead over LSU. The Hawkeyes scored two early turnovers that led to 5 points and effectively used ball screens to create three-point opportunities. After the media break, Poa hit a three that was followed by a Reese putback to put LSU within 3. Iowa held on to its lead through the middle of the quarter despite the Tigers steady effort. LSU took its first lead of the night as Reese put together a solo 6-0 run to go up 27-26. Johnson and Williams added to the run to make it a 10-0 run and end the quarter with a 31-26 advantage. 

Van Lith opened the second with her first three, but Affolter snapped the 13-0 LSU run with the Hawkeye’s sixth triple. Reese exited the game with what looked to be a rolled ankle following a defensive effort down low. Reese entered minutes later and scored on a hook shot to make it 36-32. Clark put Iowa back within one with a spot up three deep behind the far wing. LSU held a 38-37 lead at the media timeout. After missing its last nine shots, Johnson broke LSU’s drought to tie things at 43 with 44 seconds to play. On the final play of the half Johnson was able to knot it up at 45 as she finished over a slew of defenders in the final seconds. 

The 45-45 first half marked the highest scoring first half of the NCAA tournament so far this year. Clark finished the half with 19 points to lead all scorers and Reese followed with 13. Reese added 8 rebounds and three assists in the opening half. Iowa was 50-percent from the field and LSU went 46.3-percent. 

Clark connected on a step-back triple to give Iowa a 6 point lead two minutes into the third quarter and forced an LSU timeout. After the break, Clark extended the Iowa run to 8-0 to give the Hawkeyes a nine-point lead, 58-49. LSU remained diligent, but Clark couldn’t miss and maintain Iowa’s nine point lead at the media timeout, 61-52. At the break LSU was shooting 2-15 to start the quarter while Clark was 4-6 from three-point range in the first six minutes. Iowa improved to a 15-3 run as it took its largest lead of the night with 13. LSU scored 6-straight to move the margin to 7 before the final minute of the quarter. 

LSU started the quarter on a 5-0 run to get within six, but Iowa got back to a double digit lead within the first two minutes. The Tigers trailed by 11 at the final media timeout, 80-69. After the break, the Hawkeyes continued to match LSU and hold its lead. Reese fouled out with 1:45 to play. After falling back by as many as 14, LSU fought till the end bringing it within 7 with 7-seconds to play. Iowa made its free throws and held on to survive and advance.

Editor’s note: This is a press release from

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