The back-and-forth thriller between Iowa and LSU on Monday night, which sent Caitlin Clark’s Hawkeyes to the Final Four, was the most-watched women’s college basketball game on record, according to Nielsen data shared Tuesday by ESPN.

The game averaged 12.3 million viewers, ESPN said, making it the most-watched college basketball game, men’s or women’s, to air on ESPN platforms.

The matchup was a much-hyped rematch of last year’s championship game that LSU won, featuring Clark and LSU’s own transcendent star, Angel Reese. The game delivered, too, with Clark knocking down nine three-pointers and Reese battling through an injury to keep the Tigers within striking distance.

Last year’s title game was broadcast on ABC and drew a then-record 9.9 million viewers. Monday’s game exceeded that number despite being on cable, which is available in fewer homes than broadcast TV. Changes in how Nielsen counts out-of-home viewing have boosted numbers for all sports telecasts in recent years.

Still, the viewership data for Iowa-LSU is just the latest metric to show the growing popularity of women’s basketball. Clark and Reese each will star in her own upcoming documentary series. Clark was crucial in helping women’s college basketball deliver larger TV audiences than her male counterparts did on Fox this season. The NCAA also recently signed a new TV contract with ESPN that values the women’s tournament at $65 million annually, a more than tenfold increase on the previous rate.





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