Caitlin Clark TV: Iowa's Win Over LSU Smashes NBA Playoffs, College Football Ratings

Caitlin Clark Television just bounced the College Football Playoff and the NBA Playoffs.

Clark and Iowa's 94-87 victory over LSU on Monday night in Albany, New York to reach the Final Four was the No. 1 most-watched women's college basketball game of all time with an average of 12.3 million viewers on ESPN and a peak of 12.6 million viewers, ESPN reported Tuesday afternoon.

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The previous record of 9.9 million viewers was set in LSU's 102-85 win over Iowa in the national championship game last year on ABC from Dallas. 

And there could be higher numbers to come as this year's Final Four does not even start until Friday in Cleveland with No. 1 seed Iowa (33-4) playing No. 3 seed Connecticut (33-5) at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN. No. 1 seed South Carolina (36-0) and No. 3 seed North Carolina State (31-6) play at 7 p.m. Friday on ESPN.

LSU-Iowa Lived Up To Billing

Monday's game pitted the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer in Clark, who earlier this season broke Pistol Pete Maravich's record of 3,667 points set in 1970, and controversial LSU coach Kim Mulkey and her just as controversial star player Angel Reese. The game delivered with fast-paced excitement and a 45-45 tie at halftime before Iowa ran away with it.

Clark finished with 41 points on 13-of-29 shooting, including nine three-pointers, 12 assists, seven rebounds and two steals. Reese shook off an ankle injury suffered in the second quarter to score 17 points with a game-high 20 rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and two steals.

The average of all NBA Playoff games last year averaged just 5.47 million viewers, according to the NBA.

The Iowa-LSU game also drew more viewers than virtually all other college football games last year, other than three playoff games and two other games. Those games were Michigan's win over Alabama in a national semifinal (27.76 million), Michigan's win over Washington for the national championship (25.04 million), Michigan's win over Ohio State in the regular season (19.07 million), Washington's win over Texas in the other national semifinal (18.7 million) and Alabama's win over Georgia in the SEC championship game (17.5 million). 

Among the college football games that Iowa-LSU did outdraw were the Orange Bowl (10.39 million), Colorado-Oregon (10.03 million), the Big Ten championship game (9.25 million), the LSU-Florida State season opener (9.17 million) and the LSU-Alabama game (8.02 million).

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Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests. A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention. Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.