With South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark facing off in the women’s Final Four on Friday night, ratings were expected to be high.
They were record-setting for ESPN, the network announced Saturday.
ESPN, which broadcast both NCAA Tournament semifinal games, said the LSU-Virginia Tech early game averaged 3.4 million viewers with a peak of 5 million across network platforms. That was up 57% from last year’s early game.
Iowa-South Carolina averaged 5.5 million with a peak of 6.6 million, up 72% from last year’s late game.
Both games drew record audiences for a college basketball game – men’s or women’s – on ESPN+, the network said.
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No. 3 LSU beat No. 1 Virginia Tech 79-72 behind a fourth-quarter comeback that erased as much as a 12-point Hokies lead.
No. 2 Iowa ended defending champion South Carolina’s 42-game winning streak with a 77-73 victory in the late game. Clark, who has swept player of the year awards, finished with 41 points and eight assists against the No. 1 Gamecocks.
Iowa and LSU will meet Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) for the national championship.