No. 1 South Carolina women’s basketball goes undefeated to win NCAA title

April 8, 2024
After graduating all five of last year’s starters, No. 1 South Carolina women's basketball went a perfect 38-0 to win their second NCAA title in the last three seasons and third in program history.
No. 1 South Carolina women’s basketball goes undefeated to win NCAA title
Source: Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The GIST: As mentioned, the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks reached perfection with yesterday’s national championship title — and they did it with five new starters this season. Some “rebuilding year,” huh?

Championship game recap: Rallied by Caitlin Clark’s 18 first-quarter points (a title game record), No. 1 Iowa jumped out to a hot start, but HC Staley’s squad — buoyed by sophomore guard Raven Johnson’s lockdown defense on Clark — remained as calm as ever to gradually make the comeback.

  • The aforementioned Cardoso — the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player —was another difference-maker, dominating the paint to post a 15-point, 17-rebound double-double.
  • Freshman Tessa Johnson also impressed, coming off the bench to net a team-high 19 points — a testament to South Carolina’s incredible depth.

Looking ahead: The countdown is on to next Monday’s WNBA Draft, where some of the tourney’s brightest stars — including projected overall No. 1 pick Clark and Cardoso — will hear their names called in the first round. And as Staley said yesterday, there’s no doubt they’ll keep on changing the game at the pro level.

  • As for the college court, despite rising parity, don’t be surprised if South Carolina runs it back next year with this young — and now incredibly experienced — core.

Zooming out: From Clark’s historic record chase to the tournament’s astounding viewership numbers, this season was all about the women’s game. It’s worth a reminder that this incredible growth comes just three years into the women’s tourney being allowed to use the March Madness branding.

  • This is not a moment, it’s a movement — and it’s just beginning.