DALLAS – Jasmine Carson picked an excellent day to play one of the Best Private University basketball games of her life.
In the National Championship in the American Airlines Center, Carson scored 22 points to lead No.3-seeded Louisiana State University a 102-85 win over No. 2 Iowa, making the Tigers champions of women’s college basketball for the first time ever in front of an announced sellout crowd of 19,482 fans.
It’s the fourth national title for LSU coach Kim Mulkey, who won her first three titles at Baylor.She became the first coach in the sport’s history to win national championships at two different Division I programs.
Carson — a fifth-year guard who transferred to LSU (34-2) last offseason after spending previous seasons at West Virginia and Georgia Tech – didn’t miss a shot attempt until the fourth quarter.She finished the day shooting 7-of-8 from the floor and made 5-of-6 3-pointers to go along with three rebounds and an assist.
LaDazhia Williams added 20 points for LSU, All-American forward Angel Reese chipped in 15 points, 10 boards and five assists, Alexis Morris had 21 points and Flau’jae Johnson had 10.
Iowa (31-7) was led by consensus National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark, who finished with 30 points and eight assists.Gabbie Marshall added 12 points and Kate Martin had 13 for the Hawkeyes, who were playing in the title game for the first time ever. Monika Czinano had 13 points and six rebounds before fouling out with 6:25 left to play.
When Reese picked up her second foul at the end of the first quarter, conventional thinking suggested that LSU would be in for a rough second period without its star on the court.But LSU not only held on to its lead, it extended it.
Behind the play of Carson – who scored 16 points in the second on 6-of-6 shooting from the floor and 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range – the Tigers went on to lead by as much as 17 points with Reese on the bench.Last-Tear Poa also connected on a pair of shots from behind the arc in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, LSU held Clark – who was whistled for her third foul in the second quarter – to just two points in the second after she scored 14 in the first.LSU led 59-42 at halftime.
Clark and Reese both returned to the floor in the third quarter. Despite Clark hitting a 3-pointer that made her the sole owner of the NCAA’s single tournament scoring record – previously held by Sheryl Swoopes, who set it in 1993 – LSU retained its double-digit lead going into the fourth.
Iowa cut the deficit to eight points in the fourth quarter, but never got any closer to the lead.
LSU’s scoring total is the most it has had against a Power 5 opponent this season, and its 11 3-pointers tied a season-high.
–By Mitchell Northam, Field Level Media