South Carolina beats Iowa State's Kaitlyn Clark to win NCAA title and complete perfect season

South Carolina's Bree Hall (23) and Te Hina Pawpaw react during the NCAA Championship game against Iowa on Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamos/Getty Images)

It's perfect for South Carolina.

The Gamecocks completed an undefeated season with a thrilling 87-75 win over Kaitlyn Clark and Iowa in the NCAA Championship game on Sunday in Cleveland.

South Carolina (38-0) has been the best team in the country all season and showed why Sunday with an all-out scoring effort and a dominant display on the glass.

Freshman Tessa Johnson led the Gamecocks with 19 points off the bench, but Camila Cardoso was the heartbeat as usual. She finished with 15 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks in an impressive two-man effort.

The loss ended a record-breaking career for Clark, who left as the all-time leading scorer in men's and women's college basketball. She scored 30 points to lead Iowa State on Sunday, but it wasn't enough.

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  • Dawn Staley gives the Iowa State star high praise during the trophy presentation: “Caitlin Clark, if you're watching this somewhere, you're one of the GOATs of our game and we appreciate you.”

    She noted that Clarke carried a “heavy burden” of her popularity, and that it had forever affected the game.

  • Camila Cardoso won the Most Valuable Player award, a fitting send-off before she joins the WNBA as a projected lottery pick.

  • South Carolina Fields Congratulations from a Former President. They will be invited to visit President Joe Biden in honor of the victory.

  • This interview captured it all. After passing NC State, Staley told Boston she wanted to win it for “The Freshies.” The All-Star left South Carolina to join the WNBA after losing to Iowa in the Final Four last year. Now, they will get their rings.

  • What Kaitlyn Clark accomplished this season will never be forgotten. The clear No. 1 pick, she will continue to draw fans when the WNBA season ends on May 15.

  • Final: South Carolina 87, Iowa 75

    There are tears everywhere. Even alum Aaliyah Boston broke down when she stood behind a tearful Dawn Staley during the postgame interview.

  • As Clark leaves and says goodbye to college basketball, Molly Davis steps in to touch down the court after an injury sidelined her.

  • That's it. Raven Johnson dribbles to wait out the clock and Coach Staley tells her not to shoot.

  • South Carolina fans can taste victory now. Clark sent PaoPao to the free throw line with 1:07 to go and she made her attempt. Up 12 points, the Gamecocks are very close to completing a perfect season.

  • Fans booed after Iowa State's Kate Martin was called for a foul. It connected with Ashlyn Watkins, who went 1-for-2 from the free throw line.

  • Cardoso is the key to this game. After an offensive rebound and layup, she got to 15 points.

  • South Carolina didn't like that idea. Affolter stole the ball from Raven Johnson near the half-court line and completed a three-point play after being fouled on a layup.

  • South Carolina's Tessa Johnson was fouled by Kate Marshall and made both of her free throws. Martin answered with a corner kick at the other end, assisted by Clarke.

  • This trio from Marshall was crucial for Iowa State, capping an 8-0 run.

  • Stuelke missed both of her free throws and South Carolina's Johnson capitalized with a jumper. Clarke responded with a jumper and Folwile scored a corner kick at the other end.

  • The last quarter is underway! We started with Stuelke at the free throw line after taking the basket.

  • End of third: South Carolina 68, Iowa 59

    Clark tried to end the quarter with a 3-pointer but it was no good.

  • Tessa Johnson has the hot hand. Iowa calls a timeout after hitting another 3-pointer, its second of the quarter.

  • Bree Hall is the next Gamecock to score a 3. South Carolina leads by 10 points.

  • Oh boy. Clark scored in the paint again. She almost provided another great assist for Stuelke as well. South Carolina took advantage, getting the defensive rebound and converting a 3-pointer from Tessa Johnson.

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