Many people believed so. South Carolina It was obvious that winning this year’s National Championship was certain. Louisiana State’s coach Kim Mulkey told reporters after L.S.U.’s round-of-8 win that South Carolina Was “going to be there” in The title game.

South Carolina The reigning champion was unbeaten, had dominating the teams throughout the season and was undefeated. The Gamecocks hadn’t played Caitlin, Clark.

Clark was on Friday night. Iowa We were able to achieve what no team had done before: we brought down the entire organization. South Carolina, 77-73, to make their way to the program’s first championship game — delivering the upset of all upsets in They have filled a March with them.

Credit…Kirby Lee/Usa today Sports via Reuters Con

South Carolina, before the tournament began, had been the odds-on favorite to win another championship, to burnish the program’s claim to be the newest dynasty in women’s college basketball.

But it wasn’t! IowaPerhaps understandably, Clark was happy to celebrate like the team had won the championship. Clark finished the game with 41 points and 8 assists. She then ran through the arena holding a hand, before reaching for her arm and lifting her arms. Iowa’s white-knuckled fans roared. The team hugged and cheered at midcourt, and the players sang the school’s fight song with fans.

One of the fans waved prominently a sign during the game that stated, “In Clark we trust.”

“Everybody in America picked South Carolina, and deservedly so,” Clark added: “But at the same time, the people in our locker room believed in us, and that’s all you need is a belief in one another.”

Iowa Louisiana State will be represented in On Sunday, the title game was played. Third-seeded Tigers reached their first N.C.A.A. Final in Program history was made earlier in the week when Louisiana State beat Virginia Tech 79-72. Lately, Louisiana State won. in It was a back-and forth game that resulted in a win thanks to Alexis Morris’ one-two punch and Angel Reese.

Reese had her 33rd season-long double-double, which tied an N.C.A.A. record. Record with 24 points, 12 rebounds and Morris leading all scorers with 27,

Flau’jae Johnson and Angel Reese celebrated Louisiana State reaching the championship game.Credit…Kirby Lee/Usa today Sports via Reuters Con

The American Airlines Center was quickly full as the game came to an end. This event was regarded by many sports fans as the most important. Black, gold and garnet-colored spectators were there to witness the highly anticipated matchup of college basketball. in N.C.A.A. Division I Final FourThe unbeaten, and stifling. South Carolina Clark, widely considered to be the best player of all time, was a team opponent.

“Tonight showed how fun women’s basketball is,” Clark stated. “I’m sure so many people wish this was a series of seven. That would be really, really fun.”

The first part of the second half is a lot longer. Iowa It dominated South CarolinaAliyah Boston, the team’s star forward, was sent to early foul trouble. She was ineffective for eight minutes, and she scored nothing. in The first half is the best, however Iowa Only 1, led by the break, mainly because of South Carolina’s relentless depth. Boston returned quickly and the lead looked like it was going to disappear. in The second half.

Iowa’s strategy of a zone defense, dropping Clark from the top of the zone and on to Boston or any post player that got the ball, proved to be effective. Clark’s help defense and center Monika Czinano’s physicality forced 15 South Carolina turnovers. At the offensive, Iowa Exceptional South Carolina’s defense with pick-and-roll plays, mostly featuring Clark and Czinano. It was difficult for the Gamecocks to defend this play. They often left one open. Czinano ended with 18 points.

South Carolina’s guards struggled to take advantage of Iowa’s defenders sagging so deeply off them. Many people shouted abuse at the guards. “shoot the ball,” But they often missed the mark, even when they tried. South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley was rotated in There were many players involved in the game including Raven Johnson and Bree Hall as well as Kierra Fletcher, Olivia Thompson, and Bree Hall. However, nothing was effective for very long.

“They were doing the same thing that every other team has done to us this season,” Fletcher confessed through tears. “So I definitely think we beat ourselves.”

Zia Cooke, the guard with the best record of reliability was Zia. With her speed and clever dribble moves she scored 24 points to keep them in play. in It is a game. Boston, Cooke and Brea Beeal are the key players in this game. South Carolina’s dominance over the past four seasons.

Many seniors are able to return to South Carolina Next season, the N.C.A.A. Players were allowed an extra year due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, the W.N.B.A. The draft is still awaited, Boston widely considered to the number one selection.

Boston stated that she wasn’t sure about the draft, but was able to give the leadership role to Johnson. She said that it felt like Johnson had given her the team lead position. “the end of an era.”

“After the game, I said to her, ‘This is your team,’” Boston said. “You’ve been in the system for two years now, people are going to be looking up to you for that leadership role.”

Staley stated that she would advise Boston to attend the draft.

“There are defenses that played against her that won’t allow her to play her game,” She said: “and it’s hard to officiate that. She’s great. She’s ready.”

As Iowa celebrated, South Carolina Guard Zia Cooked left the court.Credit…Darron Coummings/Associated Press

Iowa’s focus throughout the game was palpable. Players displayed calm confidence. The team often talks about how the crowd impacted them, but it could also have been the players themselves. in A stadium empty. It was a empty stadium.

With only 13 seconds remaining, a 4 point lead still holds. Iowa They waited to celebrate. With a lead of 4 points and only 2.9 seconds remaining, they remained silent. They did not celebrate too early. They were confronted by a giant.

Then it was over. Iowa took down one of college basketball’s juggernauts, a team for whom a championship trophy seemed to be a formality. The stadium burst into flames. Iowa’s fandom had traveled around the nation to see this happen. They proudly recreated their home arena — Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City — as they had in Seattle during their team’s two regional games. Dallas was Carver South.

Iowa’s locker room after the game, players said they never had any doubt about the final result. “I feel like we were going to win the whole time,” said Jada Gyamfi, a freshman.

“We’re here for a reason,” Elle added. “We’re not a Cinderella story.”

It is now time for the team to restart. It was celebrated in Sharon Goodman spoke briefly about the locker rooms. On Sunday, the Hawkeyes will play another game. They have to rest, recover, and replenish their energy. They should watch tapes and then return to practicing.

“We didn’t come this far just to play in the national championship game,” Clark stated. “We’re here to win it.”

Remy Tumin Participatory reporting