Caitlin Clark snagged the game ball after her 40-point triple-double, then 'chucked it' to her dad to smuggle out of the arena
- Caitlin Clark recorded the first 40-point triple-double in NCAA Tournament history Sunday night.
- After Iowa's Elite Eight win over Louisville, the Hawkeyes superstar went straight for the game ball.
According to the official box score, Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark had three steals in the Hawkeyes' thrilling Elite Eight victory Sunday night.
But unofficially, the biggest show in college hoops pilfered the ball one last time after she and her teammates punched their ticket to the Final Four.
Just as the buzzer sounded to cement Iowa's 97-83 win against Louisville, Clark bolted onto the court and made a bee-line for teammate Molly Davis. The 6-foot point guard held out her hands and motioned for the ball, which Davis quickly surrendered, then hugged the rock to her chest as she jumped into the huddle with her exuberant teammates.
The TV broadcast cut to a shot of the two head coaches shaking hands from there, and by the time viewers at home saw Clark again, the game ball was nowhere to be found.
"I chucked it to my dad," she admitted during the postgame press conference. "I hope they got out of the arena in time, so the NCAA can't chase 'em down.
"But I told 'em to run," she added with a laugh. "I'll get it later at the hotel."
It's no wonder the Hawkeyes junior wanted a memento from the occasion; not only did she lead Iowa to its first Final Four in 30 years, but she secured the first 40-point triple-double in NCAA Tournament history — both men's and women's — to get there.
Clark scored a whopping 41 points, on 57.9% shooting from the field and 8-of-14 from beyond the arc, to lead all scorers on the night. And with 12 assists to boot, the West Des Moines, Iowa, native had a hand in 70 of her team's points — the most from a single player in an NCAA Tournament game since the turn of the century, per ESPN Stats & Info — which amounts to 72.2% of their total team offense.
She very nearly missed out on the last rebound necessary to secure the historic triple-double. But thanks to a crafty tip-out to a teammate with just over a minute left in the contest, Clark was credited for a 10th board — and rightly so, according to the NCAA's official guide for statisticians.
Now she and the Hawkeyes are headed to this weekend's Final Four in Dallas, where they'll face the winner of Monday night's matchup between No. 1 South Carolina and the second-seeded Maryland Terrapins. Should Clark and Iowa prevail in the semifinal, they'll advance to their first-ever national championship game in program history.
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