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Apr 2, 2024 - Sports
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Iowa, LSU make history as most-watched women's college basketball game ever

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes jumps for a basket during the first half against the LSU Tigers during the Elite Eight round of the 2024 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament held at MVP Arena on April 1, 2024 in Albany, New York.

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes jumps for a basket during the first half against the LSU Tigers during the Elite Eight round of the 2024 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament held at MVP Arena in Albany, New York, on Monday. Photo: Scott Taetsch/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Monday's Iowa-LSU Elite Eight thriller shattered women's college basketball ratings records.

The big picture: ESPN said Tuesday that an average of 12.3 million viewers watched the Hawkeyes defeat LSU 94-87. Viewership peaked at 16.1 million, the network said.

  • The match was also ESPN's second-most-watched college basketball game since 2012 and the four Elite Eight games were the most watched on record, the network said.

Zoom out: Women's college basketball has skyrocketed in popularity and risen in TV ratings in recent years, spurred, in part, by star players like Iowa's Caitlin Clark and LSU's Angel Reese.

  • Monday's game was a rematch of the 2023 championship, which held the previous ratings record, averaging around 9.9 million viewers and peaking at 12.6 million viewers.
  • "The previous all-time record for any women's basketball game prior to last year's title game was 8.1 million viewers for a Virginia-Stanford national semifinal on CBS in 1992," The Athletic notes.

What's next: Friday's Final Four matches will see South Carolina play NC State at 7 p.m. ET. Iowa and UConn will tip off at 9:30 p.m. ET. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN.

  • The NCAA women's championship will be played Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. ET. The title match will be broadcast on ABC.
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