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The Excitement of the Women's Final Four

The Excitement of the Women's Final Four
Marley Matorin '26

    Last Friday, April 5, the NCAA women's final four games were played in Cleveland, Ohio at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. The games played were NC State vs. South Carolina and the highly anticipated Iowa vs. UConn game. Everyone was excited for this game, especially watching some of the two best players in the country, senior Caitlin Clark for the Iowa Hawkeyes and senior Paige Bueckers for the UConn Huskies. 
    The game started with UConn winning the tipoff. The ball went out of bounds and it was Iowa’s ball. Caitlin Clark, being guarded by Nika Mühl drove to the basket to get the first points of the game with a layup. The first points for UConn were made by Ashlynn Shade who shot from mid range. At the end of the first quarter the score was 19-14 UConn. Nika Mühl did a great job on defense for Clark, who only scored two points in the first quarter. About halfway through the second quarter Aaliyah Edwards blocked a pass, drove to the basket and made the layup making the score 25-16 UConn. Clark made her second basket of the night with a layup on the right side. The first half ended with a layup by Paige Bueckers making the score 32-26 UConn. During a halftime interview with freshman KK Arnold she explains how they are defending Clark and how they are communicating on Caitlin’s passes and shot attempts. Gabbie Marshall made a three to start off the third quarter as the Hawkeyes tried to catch up. Clark made her first three of the night when her teammates set two screens for her. Kate Martin drove to the basket to even the score 36-36. KK Arnold got into foul trouble when she got her third personal foul on Marshall. Ice Brady got her first basket of the game with a layup plus a foul and made her free throw. Clark added another broken record to the book with most career points in an NCAA tournament with 454 points. The third quarter ended with a tie of 51-51 with everyone on the edge of their seats waiting for the final quarter to start. 
Kate Martin, wanting the win, was driving to the basket, making layups to help her team lead by six with two minutes left. Nika Mühl got the ball as Martin tried to throw the ball away. She was able to make a three bringing it to a one point game of 69-70 Iowa with 40 seconds left. With 3.9 seconds left in the game there was an offensive foul on Aaliyah Edwards for a moving screen. Martin inbounded the ball to Clark, who was fouled by Bueckers. Caitlin made her first free throw and missed the second. Iowa got the rebound but it was a held ball, Iowa had the possession arrow. Clark inbounding the ball bounced it off of Bueckers’s back and it was out of bounds. Clark inbounded the ball again and the clock ran out. The game ended 69-71 Iowa with an upsetting loss for the Huskies, but an exciting win for the hawkeyes who went on to the championship game against the South Carolina Gamecocks. 
    I interviewed Ms. Stinson, who works in Wooster’s Business Office and is a UConn fan. She went to both final four games with her sister. They take a trip together every year, and this year decided to do something different and wanted to go, so they did. She said that the UConn/Iowa game was her favorite and that it was an experience that everyone should have once in their life. Ms. Stinson described the game as amazing and exciting. While she thought that UConn did a great job, considering the amount of players they had left, Ms. Stinson said that she thought the ending of the game wasn’t good and didn’t like the call on Aaliyah Edwards because there wasn’t much time left and the officials should have let them finish the play. 
    Overall, this long awaited game was exciting and a close match. Both teams did very well on both defense and offense. While it was a sad loss for the Huskies they played their hardest. As for Iowa they made some great plays, passes and shots that led them to win and move onto the championship game.


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