Caitlin Clark, Iowa outduel UConn, return to NCAA title game

CLEVELAND -- Caitlin Clark's remarkable college basketball career will continue to the women's NCAA championship game for a second consecutive year, after the Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the UConn Huskies 71-69 in the Final Four on Friday night at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

Clark scored 21 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 7 assists. The Hawkeyes will face No. 1 overall seed South Carolina for the title Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ABC. The Gamecocks (37-0) beat NC State 78-59 in Friday's first semifinal.

"I think I'm just really grateful, I used every single second of my college career over the course of the last two years," Clark said of going to back-to-back national championship games.

"To be able to go out on top would be super special, but we're going to have our hands full. South Carolina has been the best all year and kind of been at a different level than anybody else.

"We're going to do the best we can. Just go out and give it your all. There's only 40 minutes left of my college career."

Clark stressed the fact she has one more game is due to an overall team effort from Iowa.

Sophomore post player Hannah Stuelke led the Hawkeyes (34-4) in scoring with 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting.

It was only the second time this season that Clark did not lead Iowa in scoring; both times it was Stuelke who stepped up.

"I think confidence is everything," Stuelke said. "Especially hearing Caitlin Clark talk about me like that, it gives me a confidence boost.

I think anyone would say that. But they just fed me the ball very well. And the ball was going in for me tonight."