Iowa Women To Play For NCAA Title

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Even when Caitlin Clark's shot is off target, it's still somehow right where it needs to be. 

UConn had handled the Clark problem nearly perfectly, limiting her to just 7 of 18 shooting and forcing the typically suave superstar into a choppy offensive outing, and as Iowa led by two in the closing seconds, her typically automatic free throw clattered off the front rim. Sydney Affolter leapt right into the path of Clark's miss, however, securing Iowa's possession on a jump ball, and a savvy inbound maneuver ensured Iowa escaped with a 71-69 victory, advancing to Sunday's national championship game with South Carolina. 

While Clark headlines Iowa's top-ranked offense, it was UConn that looked flawless from the field early on, nailing 5 of 8 field goals to start, including both of its 3-point attempts, and leading 13-7 at the first media timeout. With a rotation dwindled to only six by grueling injury luck, the Huskies leaned heavily on its stars to build a 32-26 halftime lead. Familiar suspects Paige Bueckers and Aaliyah Edwards hooked up on a sweet transition bucket out of the first intermission, ultimately finishing the second quarter with nine combined points, but KK Arnold proved to be a crucial piece for Geno Auriemma's squad. The freshman had finished with more than 10 points just once in her last six outings but had already crossed double-figures by halftime, also dishing out three assists and grabbing a rebound. 

A flurry of gritty Bueckers buckets, who joined with Edwards to lead the Huskies with 17 points, kept UConn ahead early in the second half, but Clark managed to swing the momentum with a stunning four-point play. From there, Hannah Stuelke, the game's leading scorer with 23, knocked down four straight free throws, and Iowa regained the lead for the first time since 2-0 at 47-45.

Iowa would grow its lead as large as nine midway through the fourth quarter thanks to an untimely Husky scoring drought, and while ravenous UConn defense forced consecutive Iowa turnovers and gave Connecticut a chance at the victory down just one, an offensive foul call on Edwards set up Clark's free throw magic and sent her squad to another national title game.

Iowa will now play vs South Carolina on Sunday for the NCAA National Championship. Listen live on KRGI 1430/105.5 starting at 1:30 pm