College Basketball

Caitlin Clark only player in NCAA Tournament history with back-to-back 40-point games

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Iowa guard Caitlin Clark became the first player in NCAA Tournament history in either men’s or women’s college basketball to record back-to-back 40-point games. In Friday night’s 77-73 upset win over No. 1 South Carolina in the Final Four, the junior guard logged 41 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and one steal in 39 minutes.

The Iowa native also finished 15-of-31 (48.4%) shooting from the field and 5-of-17 (29.4%) beyond the arc. During the Elite Eight, in the Hawkeyes’ 97-83 victory against No. 5 Louisville this past Sunday, the 6-foot-1 guard tallied 41 points, 10 boards, 12 assists, and three steals in 39 minutes of action.

Per multiple NCAA Women’s Tournament betting sites, No. 2 Iowa is a 2.5-point favorite over No. 3 LSU for the national championship game on Sunday, April 2. Sportsbooks are favoring the Hawkeyes after witnessing them upset the undefeated reigning champs.

“We had nothing to lose. I have all the confidence in the world in this group, and they believe right back in me, and that’s all you need,” said Caitlin Clark. “All we do is believe in one another and we love each other to death, and that’s what a true team is. If you want an example of a team, that’s what this is.”

Through five games of the NCAA Tournament, Clark ranks second on the all-time list in points (161), ranks No. 1 in assists (52), and is tied for the most 3-pointers (24). Led by the AP Player of the Year, this win snapped the Gamecocks’ 42-game win streak. It was South Carolina’s first loss since the SEC Tournament Championship against Kentucky in 2022.

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark becomes first player in NCAA Tournament history to record back-to-back 40-point games

Additionally, there have been six games in which a player has scored or assisted on 48 or more points: Alissa Pili in the Round of 64 and Clark in all five NCAA Tournament games this season. Not to mention, Clark scored or assisted on all 18 of Iowa’s points in the fourth quarter.

As stated above, Caitlin Clark has 161 points and 52 assists in this NCAA Tournament. Since 2000, it’s only one of six instances of a player having 150 points and 50 assists in any five-game span. Of course, all six occurrences belong to the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year.

Clark has recorded 82 points and 20 assists over her last two games. It’s the only instance of a player averaging 40 points per game and 10 assists per game in any two-game span in men’s or women’s NCAA Tournament history.

“I love me some Caitlin Clark,” said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder. “We’ve been talking about being mission-focused a lot this year, and we had a game plan and these guys executed so well. That is South Carolina we just beat, folks. Amazing.”

This was Iowa’s first NCAA Women’s Final Four appearance in 30 years. Their previous Final Four appearance was in 1993 under coach C. Vivian Stringer. Iowa went on to lose 73-72 in overtime against Ohio State in Atlanta, Georgia.

Furthermore, Caitlin Clark became the sixth player to score over 1,000 points in a season. She joined former Iowa star Megan Gustafson, breaking her school mark of 1,001.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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