April 15, 2024

Caitlin Clark, Iowa vs. Angel Reese, LSU Draws 12.3M Viewers; Record for Women’s CBB | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

ALBANY, NEW YORK - APRIL 01: Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Tigers shoots the ball over Caitlin Clark #22 and Gabbie Marshall #24 of the Iowa Hawkeyesduring the first half in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on April 01, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Iowa and LSU set a women’s basketball viewership record Monday night, averaging 12.3 million viewers as the Hawkeyes took down the Tigers 94-87 in the Elite Eight of the 2024 NCAA tournament.

ESPN said it was also the most watched college basketball game ever on any of its networks.

The rating surpasses the 9.9 million viewers who tuned in to watch LSU pull away from Iowa in the 2023 national championship.

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Just for reference, LSU-Iowa outdrew:<br><br>- Every NBA game last season except Game 5 of the Finals<br>- Every CFB game last season outside of the CFP, OSU-Michigan, and the SEC Championship<br>- Every MLB game last season <a href=”https://t.co/I5H1AOkcLG”>https://t.co/I5H1AOkcLG</a>

The spike reflects a wider trend, and the NCAA tournament has long been a centerpiece of the women’s sports calendar. This year, the stars aligned to create one of the most highly anticipated matchups across any sport.

On one side, you had Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, the all-time leading scorer in Division I history and the most electrifying star in the college game. On the other side stood LSU’s Angel Reese and Flau’jae Johnson, two elite talents who have also achieved crossover fame. It didn’t hurt that Tigers coach Kim Mulkey has cultivated a persona that has ratcheted up a curiosity in the LSU program.

Further adding to the drama, there was the history from last year’s title game, the lasting image of which was Reese taunting Clark on the court. It was Clark and the Hawkeyes looking for revenge pitting against Reese, Johnson and the reigning national champions.

The matchup lived up to the hype with an uptempo pace and impressive individual performances.

Clark poured in a game-high 41 points along with 12 assists and seven rebounds, while Kate Martin chipped in with 21 points. Four of LSU’s five starters scored in double figures with Johnson’s 23 leading the way. Reese matched her season high with 20 rebounds.

The biggest winner from Monday night may have been the WNBA. Clark has already declared for the 2024 draft and Reese is eligible to move on as well. It could be another year of record-breaking viewership for the WNBA if Monday’s rating is any indication.