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Clark, Iowa storm into NCAA final


‘I thought my teammates stepped up and did a really good job, made some really big baskets when we needed it.’

CAITLIN Clark (right) of Iowa attacks the defense of Nika Muhl Connecticut during their NCAA Final Four match on Friday. The Hawkeyes prevailed, 71-69, to arrange a title showdown with South Carolina on Sunday. | GREGORY SHAMUS/agence france-presse

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Caitlin Clark rallied the University of Iowa over the University of Connecticut, 71-69, on Friday, giving her a chance to complete her historic career with a national title.

Clark scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds and passed off seven assists to spark the Hawkeyes (34-4) into the March Madness women’s championship game on Sunday against unbeaten South Carolina, which routed North Carolina State, 78-59.

“Our team’s confidence is pretty good at this point in the season,” Clark said.

“Everybody is stepping up.”

“At this point, anybody can take it and you’ve got to go prep. You’ve got one day to take care of yourself so we’ll be ready.”

Clark, the all-time leading scorer in major US college basketball for men or women, has become an iconic figure attracting unprecedented attention to women’s basketball.

Resale prices for tickets to the sold-out Women’s Final Four in Cleveland were higher than those for the men’s games, a sign of the spotlight Clark’s feats have brought to the women’s game.

Clark gave herself a chance to conclude her college career as a champion after Iowa lost to Louisiana State in last year’s final.

But Clark scored only six points in the first half, shooting 3-of-11 from the floor and 0-for-6 from three-point range, as the Huskies’ Nika Muhl shut her down.

“That’s what you’re really going to see at this point. They are really going to sell out on me,” Clark said.

“I thought my teammates stepped up and did a really good job, made some really big baskets when we needed it.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of them. It takes all five of us.”

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