Recap: Iowa basketball topples South Carolina, will head to national title game

Will Kennedy
Des Moines Register

The Iowa Hawkeyes are headed to the national title game.

Caitlin Clark finished the night with a game-high 41 points in Iowa's 77-73 win over No. 1 South Carolina.

More:How to watch, stream and listen to Iowa women's basketball in the NCAA Final Four

Here's a recap of everything that happened on Friday night to send the Hawkeyes to their first national title game in program history. They'll take on LSU on Sunday afternoon.

FINAL: Iowa 77, South Carolina 73

The Hawkeyes send the Gamecocks home with their first loss in 389 days. Iowa will head to its first national title game in program history.

More:Iowa women's basketball stuns South Carolina, now one win from a national title

Iowa up two with 9.9 to go

Caitlin Clark just drilled two free throws to bring her point total to 39, the national semifinal record for a single player.

SC answers on the other end. But the Gamecocks will have to foul and send somebody to the line.

Iowa's lead down to just two

Aliyah Boston drilled one of two free throws to cut the Hawkeyes' lead to 71-69 with 1:37 left.

South Carolina hasn't lost in 389 days. Will that change tonight?

South Carolina in the bonus, Clark grimacing after fall

From now on every Iowa foul Iowa send the Gamecocks to the line. Only 1:42 left and Hawkeyes up 71-68.

Caitlin Clark seems to be holding her left elbow after falling to the ground trying to get the ball.

More:Leistikow: A historic moment for Caitlin Clark and Iowa women's basketball

Iowa 67, South Carolina 64

Monika Czinano is up to four fouls, Caitlin Clark up to three. She just drilled a pretty important 3-pointer, which is the difference in the game right now. It's her fifth of the night. Clark's got 33 points, eight assists and six boards.

Gamecocks have possession at the end of the media timeout. 5:52 left here.

END 3: Iowa 59, South Carolina 55

Iowa hits a buzzer-beater to extend its lead to four points, but South Carolina isn't going to go away. Gamecocks are down heading into the fourth quarter for just the second time this season though, so who knows if they know how to handle pressure like this on the game's biggest stage.

If the Hawkeyes can start drilling 3-pointers, this game will be over. They're just 5-for-17 on the night from long range. A few more of those go in and South Carolina won't be able to battle back with their poor shooting from beyond the arc (2-for-15).

Just 10 minutes away from the first trip to the national title game in program history. Can they hold off the South Carolina charge?

More:What the sports world is saying about Caitlin Clark after 41-point performance in Final Four

Rebounding becoming a major issue for Iowa

Hawkeyes now getting outrebounded 35-17 on the night. The lead keeps getting smaller, currently down to two points. Iowa going to need to get some boards or start hitting 3-pointers to give themselves some cushion.

Caitlin Clark not getting lucky tonight

The superstar has had about three deep 3-pointers barely lip out of the rim and yet she's still got a game-high 23 points. She's 3-for-11 from long range. That just goes to show how absurd of a player she is even on an off-shooting night, by her standards. Hawkeyes have a six-point lead at the under-5 media timeout in the third quarter.

Monika Czinano, Aliyah Boston up to three fouls

The Iowa post player heads to the bench. Will be interesting to see how the Iowa offense works without her in there.

South Carolina's big-time player remains on the floor, but she's got no points yet tonight.

Second half is underway

There's a long way to go in this tight game, but if Iowa can hold off the reigning national champs they'll earn a spot in the national title game for the first time in program history.

HALF: Iowa 38, South Carolina 37

This game is most definitely living up to its billing. Hawkeyes got out to a hot start but South Carolina stormed back. There were six lead changes toward the end of the second quarter.

South Carolina rebounding lead expanding, sitting at 23-12 and Gamecocks up 11-3 on the offensive glass. South Carolina outscored Iowa 24-16 in the second quarter.

All in all, Iowa fans have to be pretty happy with the first 20 minutes of basketball. Clark has 19 points and six assists so far. But something of note: South Carolina mounted that comeback with their best player on the bench. Both Boston and Clark head into the second half with two fouls. That will be an interesting story to watch over the next 20 minutes.

Caitlin Clark showing out, Gamecocks finding footing

Clark is doing what she does best: Score and find her open teammates. She's got 16 points and five assists already. But South Carolina is weathering the storm, outscoring the Hawkeyes 14-9 in the second period at the under-5 media timeout.

They're getting plenty of boards, outrebounding Iowa 17-9 in the game now. Their depth could cause issues for Iowa too. Gamecocks have 11 bench points, Hawkeyes have 0.

Iowa up 31-27

Gamecocks storming back

South Carolina has gone on a 6-0 run in the last 17 seconds, two layups plus additional foul shots. Caitlin Clark picked up her second foul in the process as well.

END 1: Iowa 22, South Carolina 13

Clark leads all scorers with 11 points and Monika Czinano has six more. Hawkeyes have hit all four of their last attempts from the field.

Iowa's getting out-boarded 10-7 and 5-3 on the offensive glass. That's not great, but it's also not even close to the dominance the Gamecocks usually have in that department.

Two fouls on Boston already

The Hawkeyes are in the midst of a 7-0 run and have a 20-11 lead. They just drew a second foul on superstar Aliyah Boston too and she's headed to the bench.

Clark drills one from deep

Caitlin Clark hits her first 3-pointer of the night and Aliyah Boston has one foul on her.

Hawkeyes up 11-6 with just over four minutes left in the opening frame. But be wary Hawkeye fans. South Carolina has been known to start slow early in games this tournament, so they could go on a tear real quick.

Some jitters early

It took over two minutes for either team to get on the board, but Caitlin Clark finally broke the deadlock with a layup. It's still early, but something to watch is how Iowa is handling South Carolina on the glass. We're nearly five minutes into the game and the Gamecocks don't have a single offensive board.

We're underway

South Carolina wins the tip and the Hawekeys' trip to the Final Four is underway. Let's have some fun.

Starting lineup looks pretty much as you'd expect

Near even split of support in Dallas

Our reporters on the ground at the Final Four say it's pretty split in the packed house to watch this game. Maybe slightly more noise for the Hawkeyes, but fans of both teams made their way to the Lone Star State.

Iowa women's basketball takes the floor in Dallas

It's almost here. The Hawkeyes are on the court warming up for the biggest game of their lives now.

LSU clinches first spot in Sunday's title game

The Tigers topped Virginia Tech 79-72 in the first national semifinal. If the Hawkeyes are able to pull off the shocking upset over South Carolina tonight, they'll take on LSU and three-time national title-winning coach Kim Mulkey for a national championship Sunday afternoon.

About 30 minutes to tip off for the Hawkeyes now.

How to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Final Four

We're just about 30 minutes away from the scheduled tipoff between the Hawkeyes and the Gamecocks. That's when the real fun begins in this live blog.

If you're not lucky enough to be in Dallas but you're still able to sit down and watch the game on TV, you can tune in to ESPN to take in the action.

Hawkeyes comfortable with an underdog mentality

Iowa isn't particularly used to coming into a game playing the underdog role this season. After all, they're the No. 3 team in the entire nation in the most recent coaches poll. Still, the Gamecocks are a different sort of beast and ar a double-digit favorite tonight.

That's not worrying the Hawkeyes, though. Our women's basketball beat writer Dargan Southard spoke to the players about it and the mentality they're going into this matchup with. Here's what sharpshooter Gabbie Marshall had to say.

“I personally love being the underdog. We’ve been saying we have nothing to lose and everything to prove. Going out there and knowing we have literally nothing to lose, (South Carolina) should be winning this game. It makes you want to play harder to win that game.

“It’s going to be hard, but we can do this.”

Check out the rest of that story below.

More:With 'nothing to lose and everything to prove', Iowa women's basketball charges into South Carolina showdown

Battle of superstars between Iowa and South Carolina

Iowa and the Gamecocks both have superstars on the roster that have captured the attention of the nation over the last two years. The Hawkeyes boast Naismith Player of the Year Caitlin Clark while South Carolina has last year's POY in Aliyah Boston.

The two play very different spots on the floor, with Clark dominating from the perimeter while Boston is a menace in the paint. Still, they're the players who make their teams tick. Take look at what each of them brings to the table in the story below.

More:Comparing superstars: How Iowa's Caitlin Clark matches up against South Carolina's Aliyah Boston

30 years since the Hawkeyes have been here

This marks only the second trip to the Final Four in program history for the Iowa women's basketball team. The first one was all the way back in 1993, which was before this live blogger was even born.

Earlier this week, our staff took a look at the paths both Iowa teams took to get to the Final Four. Check out that story below.

More:Iowa women's basketball reached the Final Four in 1993. How does their run compare?

LSU taking on Virginia Tech at 6 p.m.

The Hawkeyes don't take the floor for a couple of hours, but fans can do an early scouting report on the potential national title game opponent by taking in this game.

Also, keep an eye out for LSU coach Kim Mulkey. Not only is she a three-time national title-winning coach, but she's a fashion icon. Her outfit tonight matches her granddaughter, Sage.

Catch up on Iowa women's basketball in the NCAA Tournament