Caitlin Clark rallies Iowa past UConn 71-69 in women's Final Four. South Carolina awaits (Part-2)

“I thought we started off the fourth quarter really good,” Clark said. Got some massive buckets. Hannah made baskets. Kate Martin was great. Simply resilient.” Bueckers and Edwards each scored 17 points for the Huskies, who returned to the Final Four after a one-year sabbatical that broke their 14-year semifinal streak.  

Geno Auriemma may have done his best coaching here. After nearly half of its squad was injured, UConn's dreams of earning its 12th title were crushed. The Huskies returned to title contention thanks to Bueckers, the 2021 national player of the year who returned to form after missing a complete season and part of another with injury.  

We put ourselves in position to win a game that we probably had no business being in given the circumstances we worked with,” Auriemma said. "When you're trying to win the game and don't, you don't think you're lucky to be here; you think, we had an opportunity to win this game and we didn't."  

UConn started early thanks to Bueckers and Muhl and her teammates, who surrounded Clark whenever she touched the ball. UConn led by 12 in the second quarter. “You'll see that now. Clark said, "They'll sell out on me." I think my teammates played well and made big baskets when we needed it. I am really proud of them. It takes five of us.”  

After trailing by six at halftime, Iowa started the third quarter behind their hero. She scored her first 3-pointer of the game 2 minutes in, and her four-point play pulled Iowa within one. Later in the period, the Hawkeyes took their first lead until Edwards punched Martin in the face, causing a bloody nose. She fled the court, bleeding.  

Martin resumed his Iowa bench seat before the court was cleaned. She scored 11 points with three key baskets in the last minutes. “Couldn’t be happier with our performance tonight in the second half,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. We struggled in the first half. We genuinely believed.”

Clark scored six points in the first half but missed all six 3-point attempts. She struggled to get open shots and appeared agitated. Iowa coaches yelled support to their generational player. Clark's six rebounds and four assists kept the Hawkeyes in the game at 32-26 at halftime despite not scoring.  

Our looks were good. They didn't enter. But sometimes it happens, Clark added. Some simple bunnies around the rim were missed. My favorite thing about our team is that we went into the locker room at halftime without saying, "You have to make shots." No, stop turning the ball over and you'll be fine.”  

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