Iowa, LSU draws record 12.3 million viewers in Elite Eight clash – Just Women’s Sports

    Iowa and LSU blew out the women’s college basketball ratings on Monday with an average of 12.3 million viewers tuning in to watch Iowa’s 94-87 win. 

    It’s yet another record that Clark can claim in what has been a record-breaking season. 

    The 12.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen, make it one of the most-viewed games in any sport other than NFL football in the last year. It outdrew all but one of five games of last year’s NBA Finals, as well as every single World Series game. It also surpassed last year’s national championship between LSU and Iowa, which drew 9.9 million viewers on ABC.

    UConn’s win over USC, which immediately followed Iowa-LSU, drew an likewise impressive 6.7 million viewers — beating the viewership of UConn’s men’s team in their Elite Eight matchup.

    Only one men’s tournament game this year has drawn larger viewership: NC State’s win over Duke in the men’s Elite Eight, which averaged 15.1 million. 

    Monday’s game also surpassed the previous most-watched women’s college basketball game in history, when 11.84 million viewers tuned in to the 1983 NCAA championship game between Southern California and Louisiana Tech.

    LSU coach Kim Mulkey, playing for Louisiana Tech, matched up against USC great Cheryl Miller in that game. The Trojans won 64-58. 

    Monday’s game was also the most watched men’s or women’s college basketball game ever on ESPN.

    It comes after Iowa and Colorado’s regional semifinal on Saturday averaged 6.9 million viewers on ABC. 

    Through the Elite Eight, the women’s tournament is averaging 1.5 million – a 127% increase over last year. Iowa’s last five games have surpassed 3 million viewers, with the last three having drawn at least 4.9 million. 

    “I think it’s just great for the sport, just being able to be a part of history,” Reese said Monday night. “Like I said, no matter which way it went tonight, I know this was going to be a night for the ages. And just being able to be a part of history is great.”

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