DALLAS — The LSU Women's Basketball team has won the 2023 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament after defeating Iowa 102-85 on Sunday afternoon.
Kim Mulkey, Angel Reese and the rest of the Tigers have captured the first women's title in program history in their first championship game appearance.
"Never in the history of LSU basketball - men or women - have they ever played for a national championship. My tears are tears of joy. This is for the state of Louisiana," Mulkey said after the game.
Mulkey now has four national championships putting her only behind Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and Tennessee's Pat Summit. She also won a title as a player and one as an assistant while at Louisiana Tech.
After winning only nine games in the 2020-2021 season, the Tigers are on the top of the collegiate basketball world just three years later.
Tigers guard Jasmine Carson was an unexpected hero, dropping 22 points and sinking five three-pointers after going scoreless in the last three tournament games.
The Hawkeyes didn't make it easy, especially as Iowa star Caitlin Clark dropped 30 points, two rebounds and eight assists. Iowa was down by 21 points early in the second half but cut the deficit to as little as seven points at one point in the third quarter.
The Tigers also dealt with foul trouble early on in the game, but they managed to rally through it.
"My teammates take constructive criticism. I get on them and they get on me. This team is just amazing," Reese said.
The game was a marquee for women's college basketball with Iowa's Caitlin Clark scorching the nets for 14 first-quarter points, while LSU kept holding serve. Foul problems for both teams sidelined the top two players on both teams for extended time. LSU's bench stepped up, while the Hawekeyes' bench had more trouble.
Clark had captured the attention of the nation and was the Player of the Year, but LSU seemed to have answers every time she and her teammates went on a run.
"All the credit to LSU, they deserve it. They had a tremendous season," she said after the game. She also said she appreciated the kind words Mulkey directed to her after the game.
But LSU came out firing in the 4th quarter and didn't look back. The Tigers pulled ahead by double digits in the final quarter and took home the NCAA championship.
"It's crazy. I get to coach at an institution that is internationally known. Those three letters - LSU - there's no mistake what they stand for," Mulkey said.
There were several records set in the game. Clark set one for tournament points and another for three-pointers in a single game. LSU's Reese set an NCAA season mark for most double-doubles, while the Tigers' 102 points was a record for a women's title game.