DALLAS — Jasmine Carson has message for anyone who thought this entire Final Four was supposed to be about an Iowa junior guard.
Transfers also play a role.
Carson, one of nine freshmen for LSU this season, scored 22 points off the bench — in just 22 minutes — and third-ranked LSU beat Iowa and Caitlin Clark 102-85 to win the 2023 national championship.
It was an amazing achievement for Carson at her third school after stints at Georgia Tech and West Virginia. She was averaging 8.4 points per game prior to Sunday and had not scored in LSU’s three previous tournament wins. But she made 7 of 8 shots from the field and 5 of her 6 tries out of three.
The Tigers, who are now in their second year of the Kim Mulkey era, have been pretty good too. LSU won the rebound battles 36-26, turning 14 offensive boards into 14 second-chance points. They also had a season-high by hitting 11 three-pointers, including eight of their first 11 tries, and shooting 54% from the field and leading for more than 34 minutes.
With the win, Mulkey becomes the first women’s football coach to lead two schools to national championships (she won three at Baylor). A men’s coach, Rick Pitino, did the same in Kentucky and Louisville, although the Louisville title was later vacated. Previously, Mulkey became the first person to win titles as a coach and player.
Clark started hot for Iowa, going 4-of-4 and scoring 14 points in the first quarter. But she was mostly cold after that and ended up with 30 points on 9-of-22 shooting.
The 2023 consensus player of the year also had eight assists and turned the ball six times. She also ran into foul trouble in the second quarter, getting a 1:03 technique in the third quarter after throwing the ball off the field after Iowa was called for a foul.
LSU built a 21-point lead in the third quarter, and Iowa came no closer than seven. Meanwhile, Iowa’s internal threat, Monika Czinano, fouled at 6:25 to play.
Reese also struggled early for LSU, but finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, her 34th double-double. The All-American recorded double-doubles in all but two games this season. Alexis Morris scored 21 points, LaDazhia Williams 20 points and Flau’jae Johnson 10.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LSU Women Dominate Iowa, Win First NCAA Basketball Championship