Iowa vs. LSU rematch the most-watched women’s NCAA game ever with historic TV viewership

Iowa vs. LSU rematch the most-watched women’s NCAA game ever with historic TV viewership

America wanted to watch the Caitlin Clark vs. Angel Reese rematch.

Monday’s March Madness Elite Eight matchup and national championship game rematch garnered 12.3 million viewers for ESPN, the network announced Tuesday.

It was also the most-watched college basketball game ever on ESPN platforms, per the network.

Last year’s championship tilt, an 102-85 win by LSU, drew a record 9.9 million viewers on ABC. It marked the first time the women’s title game aired on the network.

Angel Reese (l) guards Caitlin Clark (r) during the national title game. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The game also tallied the most viewers on an ESPN platform for any college basketball game, and the most-watched college event in ESPN+ history.

The 9.9 million viewers marked a 104 percent increase from the 2022 championship game, when South Carolina downed UConn.

With millions watching, Iowa and Clark evened the score against Reese and LSU by knocking them out of the tournament via a 94-87 win.

Clark burned LSU with 41 points, including a record-tying nine 3-pointers to help Iowa pull away in the third quarter after the teams entered halftime tied at 45-all.

Reese had 17 points and 20 rebounds before fouling out, while teammate Flau’Jae led LSU with 23 points.

Clark’s performance wowed LSU coach Kim Mulkey.

Caitlin Clark celebrates the win. Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

“What did I say to her?” Mulkey said. “I said, ‘I sure am glad you’re leaving. Girl, you’re something else. Never seen anything like it.’”

ESPN can expect more monster ratings in the Final Four with No. 1 seed Iowa taking on the sport’s all-time greatest powerhouse in No. 3 seed UConn, which downed USC to win its region.

That matchup arguably will feature the top two players in the country in Clark and UConn star Paige Bueckers, although there’s debate about who is better.

Undefeated South Carolina — which faces NC State in the other Final Four game — will likely await the Hawkeyes or Huskies in the national championship game and there’s history with both programs.

Angel Reese and LSU could not repeat as champions. Getty Images

Clark upset South Carolina in the Final Four last year, which may prove to be the difference between a three-peat and two titles in three years for the Gmaecocks.

UConn would be seeking revenge for its 2022 defeat, the Huskies’ only loss in the title game in 12 contests.