Women’s College Basketball Tournament Highlights

For the first time in school history, the LSU Tigers won the women's March Madness tournament.
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Chloe Appleby is an associate writer for BestColleges. She contributes to both the News and Data teams, writing both higher education news stories and data reports for the site. She graduated from Davidson College with a BA in English and communicati...
Updated on April 5, 2023
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  • No. 2 Iowa and No. 3 LSU joined South Carolina and Virginia Tech in the Final Four.
  • April 2 marked the end of the season, when LSU and Iowa competed for the national title in Dallas.
  • The Tigers took down the Hawkeyes by 17 points.
  • History was made when 9.9 million viewers watched the LSU Tigers win the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship.

For women's sports, 2022 was a pivotal year. Women's college basketball, in particular, has gained momentum in the past year with increases in viewership, sponsorship deals, and coverage.

In the first full year of name, image, and likeness (NIL) rule changes, women's basketball accounted for over 15% of total NIL compensation across both men's and women's college sports, according to a report from Opendorse.

In 2022, 4.85 million people viewed the women's national championship game on ESPN networks, the highest number of viewers in almost two decades. This year, the national championship matchup between LSU and Iowa brought in 9.9 million viewers, the most views in history for a women's college basketball game.

The excitement started early on in this years' women's March Madness tournament. During the Sweet 16, No. 3 Ohio State beat out No. 2 UConn, making it the first time in 16 years that the Huskies would not play in the Elite Eight. Virginia Tech beat the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, making history as the first team in program history to advance to the Elite Eight.

No. 1 seeds South Carolina and Virginia Tech knocked off No. 2 Maryland and No. 3 Ohio State in the Elite Eight. LSU and Iowa joined them in the Final Four round. In the Final Four, Iowa took down last season's champions, the South Carolina Gamecocks by four points, and LSU beat Virginia Tech.

In the championship game on April 2, LSU put up 102 points to Iowa's 85, making them the first team in LSU basketball's history, both men's or women's, to secure a ring.

Final Four Breakdown

  • LSU, led by playing and coaching legend Kim Mulkey, defeated Miami in the Elite Eight to secure their spot in the Final Four. After two massive wins against Virginia Tech and Iowa, the Tigers, with the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, Angel Reese, took the title home to Baton Rouge.
  • The Iowa Hawkeyes have been home to five of the last six women's basketball Big Ten Players of the Year. They've also been a part of the Big Dance 29 times. But this year, the team, led by 2023 Naismith National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark, had a real shot of taking home the hardware.
  • The South Carolina Gamecocks stayed at the top of the AP Poll rankings for the entire season and received the top overall seed heading into the tournament. They kept their flawless 42-0 record alive until their Final Four matchup with Iowa.
  • Virginia Tech also received a No. 1 seed for the first time in history after taking home the ACC championship trophy for the first time ever. In their 84-74 victory over Ohio State, the Hokies were 85.7% from the free-throw line and secured a 32-24 rebounding advantage. They lost to LSU in the Final Four.

Player And Team Highlights

Tournament Standouts

  • Angel Reese from LSU has been a problem for opponents throughout the entire tournament. She put up 24 against Virginia Tech in the Final Four and 15 in the national championship matchup with Iowa. Reese, along with her teammates Alexis Morris and Jasmine Carson, were named to the All-Tournament team. Reese set the NCAA record in their game against Iowa with her 34th double-double in a single season.
  • Caitlin Clark from Iowa has been nearly unstoppable this March. She collected 41 points, eight assists, and six rebounds against South Carolina in the Final Four. She was named Naismith Player of the Year, AP Player of the Year, and the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Player of the year.
  • ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley led the Hokies to a No. 1 seed, scoring 18.2 points on average per game this season. She had 14 rebounds in each of the first two games of the tournament, and 12 in their Elite Eight and Final Four matchups.
  • Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke, two of many South Carolina stars, secured a combined 40 points against No. 2 Maryland to reach their third straight Final Four. Despite their loss to Iowa in the Final Four, their bench outscored Iowa's 38-6 and tallied 26 offensive boards to Iowa's five.

Regular-Season Record Holders

Discover the top performers from the regular season, including best shooters and rebounders in the country, according to statistics from the NCAA. As of April 2:

  • Maddy Siegrist, the top scorer in the NCAA with an average of 29.2 points per game, has brought Villanova back into the national conversation. She has racked up over 2,700 points in her career as a Wildcat with a season high of 50 points in a single game.
  • Lauren Gustin from BYU has 16.7 rebounds per game on average. She grabbed a career high of 27 rebounds against San Francisco at the beginning of March and now has the BYU single-season rebound record with more than 463 boards.
  • Iowa has the highest-scoring offense in the country. They score on average 87.3 points per game. National Player of the Year contender Caitlin Clark scores 27.2 points per game on average. She had a season high of 45 points against North Carolina State in December.
  • Clark also has the highest average assists per game and total assists on the season, at 327 assists.
  • Norfolk State only allowed 50.7 points per game on average this season.