In a captivating finale to the March Madness tournament held at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, the South Carolina Gamecocks claimed their third national championship title, overcoming a formidable challenge from the Iowa Hawkeyes.

This victory not only secured a historic 38-0 perfect season for the Gamecocks but also established them as the first undefeated national champion since UConn’s triumph in 2016, joining an elite group as the 10th team in history to accomplish this feat.

The game was a rollercoaster of emotions and momentum shifts, beginning with Iowa’s explosive start led by the sensational Caitlin Clark, who quickly amassed 18 points in the first quarter, setting new NCAA tournament records and thrusting the Hawkeyes into an early lead. Despite this, the resilience and depth of the Gamecocks shone through as they methodically clawed back from a double-digit deficit to take the lead by halftime.

The second half showcased South Carolina’s dominant play, as they extended their lead with critical baskets and defensive stops, countering every Iowa surge with poise and determination. The Gamecocks’ balanced attack was spearheaded by Kamilla Cardoso, who delivered a powerful double-double performance, and was supported by key contributions from Raven Johnson, Te-Hina Paopao, and others off the bench.

For Iowa and Caitlin Clark, the loss marked a second consecutive national championship game defeat, despite Clark’s record-breaking individual performance that capped off an illustrious college career. Her impending transition to the WNBA is highly anticipated, with expectations of her becoming the No. 1 overall pick.

This championship victory is a testament to the dynasty that Coach Dawn Staley has built at South Carolina, marked by consistent excellence, resilience, and a team-first ethos that has propelled the Gamecocks to the pinnacle of women’s college basketball.



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