Caitlin Clark and Iowa are still alive in the NCAA Tournament, rolling past Colorado for back-to-back seasons in the Sweet 16. Now, the Hawkeyes will brace for an Elite 8 matchup and a highly anticipated rematch against LSU.

Heading into Saturday’s game against Colorado, Clark was actually on a sluggish start to March Madness this time around. Though Clark scored 59 points combined in wins against Holy Cross and West Virginia, she had 12 total turnovers to just 13 assists while struggling with shooting from the field a bit.

Against the Buffs, it was a different story, at least when it came to distributing the ball. Clark focused on finding her teammates in the first half, finishing with 8 assists and no turnovers at the break.

When it was all said and done, Clark finished the 89-68 win with 15 assists and just 2 turnovers, a stark turnaround from the first two games of the NCAA Tournament. It’s a career-high in assists for Clark in a March Madness game.

That attention to distributing the ball also allowed Clark to find a better shooting groove against Colorado. Though she still struggled a bit from 3-point range (3-for-11), Clark managed to shoot 13-for-22 from the field, meaning she was nearly perfect inside the arc.

Clark’s bounce-back shooting effort cannot be overstated. She shot just 36% from the field in a win over West Virginia and had not shot 50% or better in a game since March 9 against Michigan.

Balanced attack

Even with Clark’s 3-point woes, Iowa finished 9-for-22 from 3-point range and right at 54% from the floor as she distributed the ball efficiently all game long. All 5 starters for Iowa reached double figures, and 4 of the 5 starters recorded 14+ points.

Sydney Affolter scored 15 points while making all 6 field goal attempts, and Gabbie Marshall was 4-for-5 from deep. Hannah Stuelke recorded a double-double as Kate Martin and Affolter also chipped in on the boards to out-rebound Colorado by a 43-34 margin. That will be crucial in the upcoming game against LSU.

The rematch everyone is waiting for

With the win, Iowa is heading into the Elite 8 and a national title game rematch against LSU. That opening line will be one to monitor, and fans can track the latest game odds with Tradition’s Ohio online sports betting and ESPN Bet links.

The Caitlin Clark vs. Angel Reese rivalry has carried over from last year’s title game, though both superstars have been vocally supportive of the other. Clark continued that trend after knocking off the Buffs, expressing her excitement for the game and appreciation for the Tigers.

“It’s so good for women’s basketball, and to be honest, I’ve watched a lot of LSU games and what they’ve been able to do for women’s basketball is tremendous,” praised Clark. “It’s been fun to watch, and they’ve had a great season so I know it’s going to be a great game. Both teams are going to be ready to go, and it’s going to be great for our game.”

On the flip side, Reese says the Tigers are embracing the villain role as the reigning national champion. LSU advanced to the Elite 8 with a gritty finish vs. UCLA.

“We’re the good villains… Everybody wants to beat LSU. Everybody wants to be LSU. Everybody wants to play against LSU,” said Reese after Saturday’s victory.

“You’ve got to realize like we’re not any regular basketball team. Like Coach talks about it all the time, she calls us the Beatles. People run after our butts. People are coming at games. You’re seeing sellouts, you’re seeing people buying jerseys, you’re seeing more sellouts than the men.”

As for the matchup, LSU will try to impose its will similarly the Tigers did last season. Kim Mulkey’s squad outrebounded 32-24 with 11 offensive rebounds — including 6 offensive boards from Reese — in the 102-85 win.

As for Clark, she finished with 30 points but was just 9-for-22 from the field and only attempted 3 shots inside the arc to go with 8 assists and 6 turnovers. No matter how LSU rebounds, Iowa will need Clark to be aggressive but controlled while also avoiding foul trouble which was an issue last year.

ESPN’s Andraya Carter was not shy about her expectations for this type of matchup earlier in the week. She predicted it was “highly unlikely” the Hawkeyes get past either LSU or UCLA in the Elite 8.

“Iowa is such an undersized team. When you’re watching this West Virginia game: West Virginia is not an elite offensive rebounding team, West Virginia doesn’t have a lot of size. Those are two things that UCLA and LSU both have, and they have it readily available… the size of both of those teams I have giving Iowa trouble if they get past Colorado.”

Will Iowa get some revenge, or will LSU’s reign of college basketball continue for another day? We’ll find out Monday night.