Caitlin Clark, Iowa blitz Colorado to set up heavyweight rematch with Angel Reese and LSU in Elite Eight

Caitlin Clark, Iowa blitz Colorado to set up heavyweight rematch with Angel Reese and LSU in Elite Eight.

The rematch is set.

After a 2023 national title game that lit the basketball world on fire, Iowa and LSU are set to run it back in the Elite Eight. Caitlin Clark and No. 1 seed Iowa made easy work of No. 5 seed Colorado on Saturday in a 89-68 Sweet 16 romp.

Caitlin Clark and Iowa have a date with Angel Reese and LSU in Monday's Albany 2 regional final. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

That game followed No. 3 seed LSU’s win over No. 2 UCLA in a 78-69 nail-biter that the Bruins led with two minutes remaining. Next, the Hawkeyes and Tigers will meet in a Monday regional final with a trip to the Final Four at stake.

The game will feature marquee All-America stars Clark and Angel Reese, the reigning Final Four MOP who led LSU’s run past Iowa to the 2023 championship. Both teams blitzed the record books en route to the title game. When it was done, Reese didn’t hold back with an in-your-face taunt of Clark, a moment Reese described postgame as being “in my bag.”

Now they’ll settle things on the court one last time.

Clark dishes and scores to topple Buffaloes

Clark, as usual, starred in Saturday’s win. This time her playmaking took center stage. Clark had eight assists by halftime as Iowa opened up a 48-35 lead. Clark told ESPN’s Holly Rowe at halftime that her playmaking was the “key to the game.”

“I think that’s the key to the game,” Clark said. “We have multiple people in double figures. We’re really good. Our ball screen offense is really good, being able to work that. They’re flooding. Being able to hit Hannah [Stuelke] on the roll.”

It was more of the same in the second half. Colorado maintained the margin at 13 points with a 58-45 deficit midway through the third quarter. But the Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 68-47 before the fourth quarter started. They did not relent from there.

After a sweat in second round at home against West Virginia, Saturday’s win over Colorado served as prelude to the main event that awaits on Monday. As usual, Clark did it all.

Clark’s scoring didn’t suffer from her focus on providing for her teammates, even on a relative off day from long distance. She finished with 29 points, 15 assists, six rebounds, one block and one steal. She shot 13 of 22 from the field and 3 of 11 from 3-point distance.

She left the game to a standing ovation from an appreciative Albany crowd with 1:39 remaining and Iowa leading, 87-68.

Clark: LSU-Iowa rematch ‘so good for women’s basketball’

After the game, Clark talked about the showdown with Reese and LSU when speaking with Rowe.

“It’s so good for women’s basketball,” Clark said. “To be honest, I watched a lot of LSU games, and what they’re doing for women’s basketball and the way their fans support is tremendous. …

“I know it’s gonna be a great game, and both teams are gonna be ready to go. It’s just gonna be great for our game. We couldn’t be more excited.”

In part a product of her playmaking, all five Iowa starters scored in double figures. Stuelke double-doubled with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kate Martin tallied 14 points and nine rebounds. Sydney Affolter posted 15 points and five rebounds, while Gabbie Marshall scored 14.

The Hawkeyes shot 53.8% from the field and 40.9% (9 of 22) from 3-point distance. They limited Colorado to 37.5% shooting from the field and a 27.6% (8 of 29) effort from beyond the arc. They secured a 43-34 rebounding edge.

It was the kind of effort the Hawkeyes will need on Monday to avenge last year’s title-game loss.

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