Colorado March Madness: CU women fall to Iowa

NCAA Colorado Iowa Basketball
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark drives against Colorado guard Jaylyn Sherrod during the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 30, 2024, in Albany, N.Y.

The University of Colorado women's basketball team is out of the NCAA Tournament after losing 89-68 to top-seeded Iowa in the Sweet 16. The fifth seeded Buffs were the last Colorado team left in March Madness after the CU and CSU men's teams both lost in the earlier rounds.

Saturday's contest was a rematch of last year's Sweet 16 match up between Iowa and Colorado. The Hawkeyes won that game on their way to the Final Four and a National Championship game appearance.

Even though the Buffs (24-10) are out of the bracket, the CU women's team has emerged as the state's best college basketball team following back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances and a victory over defending national champions LSU in November. They saw their star shine bright throughout the season, including number one seed nod by the NCAA Tournament selection committee in an early midseason ranking. The Buffs have also played a big role in women's college basketball's meteroic rise in popularity.

Colorado's second consecutive deep run in March Madness was made all the more impressive due to the difficulty of their bracket region–dubbed by some analysts as the "Group of Death." It featured both teams from last year's championship game (Iowa and LSU), a star-studded UCLA, a Louisville team that qualified for the Elite 8 last season, as well as strong squads in Creighton and Kansas State–who Colorado beat in the second round.

The Buffs will lose star Jaylyn Sherrod and other key players to graduation. However, Colorado's deep bench and talented second rotation means they are likely to see continued success next season.

The rematch

Basketball superstar Caitlin Clark had 29 points and 15 assists to lead Iowa over Colorado, setting up a rematch of last year's national title game against LSU.

The Tigers, who beat the Hawkeyes in the championship game a year ago, topped UCLA in Saturday's earlier semifinal in the Albany 2 Region. The teams will play Monday night.

Clark got the Hawkeyes (32-4) going early, driving to the basket for easy layups or throwing fantastic passes. About the only thing missing from Clark's day was one of her signature midcourt logo shots. She took a couple, but missed.

The NCAA’s all-time Division I scoring leader has dazzled off the court as well. She’s a transcendent player who has brought record ratings and attendance to the sport. The sold-out crowd was filled with girls and boys wearing No. 22 Iowa shirts who cheered at every play their favorite player made.

Clark threaded the needle with a beautiful bounce pass to Hannah Stuelke for a layup before the end of the first quarter that gave the Hawkeyes a 22-14 lead. Clark had six points, six assists and three rebounds in the opening 10 minutes.

She finished the first half with 15 points and eight assists as the Hawkeyes were up 48-35 at the break.

Iowa scored the first six points of the third quarter and Colorado could not get within single digits the rest of the way.

Aaronette Vonleh scored 13 points and Frida Formann had 12 for the Buffs.


Clark moved to sixth all-time in college basketball scoring with 3,859 points. She passed Miriam Walker-Samuels and Deb Remmerde, both of whom played in the NAIA. Walker-Samuels had 3,855 points and Remmerde was one behind her. Clark will be hard-pressed to get into the top five as Grace Beyer is next at 3,961 points.


The NCAA couldn't have asked for a better matchup in the regional final than LSU and Iowa playing for a chance to get to the Final Four in Cleveland.

Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press reported Albany, NY.