On Monday, the highly-anticipated rematch between Iowa women's basketball and LSU women's basketball finally ensued. Led by Caitlin Clark, Iowa used a second-half surge to book their ticket to the Final Four in Cleveland.

Sure enough, the game broke viewership records. On ESPN, the Elite Eight clash garnered 12.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched NCAA women's basketball game of all time. Additionally, the game surpassed many other big events on television as of late.

Iowa-LSU had more viewers than Sunday's Purdue-Tennessee men's Elite Eight (10.4 million), the 2024 Golden Globes (9.5 million), last year's final round of The Masters (12.1 million), four of five games from the 2023 NBA finals and every World Series game last year, per Sports Business Journal's Austin Carp.

What led to such a large number of viewers stemmed from one particular game in 2023 — specifically, last year's national championship.

How Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese brought in all the viewers

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) controls the ball against LSU Lady Tigers forward Angel Reese (10) in the third quarter in the finals of the Albany Regional in the 2024 NCAA Tournament at MVP Arena
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Angel Reese and LSU won the 2023 national championship at the expense of the Clark-led Iowa team. It would have been just like any other game, but one particular gesture from Reese added a little spice to the clash.

As LSU was on the verge of winning the title, Reese went up to Clark to imitate the latter's “You can't see me” celebration, something that Clark had been doing throughout the tournament. The Tigers forward also pointed to her ring finger as an extra taunt.

Once Reese's actions made headlines, it had the entire country talking about NCAA women's basketball like never before. The Tigers were painted as villains while many dreamed of the Hawkeyes getting a rematch the following year.

Fast forward to 2024 and the hype suddenly returned when it was announced that both Iowa and LSU would be slated in the Albany 2 region. The Tigers were coming off a second-place finish in the SEC while the Hawkeyes just won the Big 10 title match over Nebraska.

It was still uncertain if the dream clash would happen, considering how heavyweights such as UCLA and Kansas State were also present in the region. Luckily for fans, all the stars aligned. Clark and Reese's teams were the last two squads remaining, setting up Monday's clash for everyone to see.

And upon tipoff, America was tuned in.

Iowa overcomes LSU

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) talks with teammates in a huddle in the fourth quarter against the LSU Lady Tigers in the finals of the Albany Regional in the 2024 NCAA Tournament at MVP Arena
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

It was a close first half, with no team breaking away. However, the third quarter was a different story. With the score tied at 45 apiece, Caitlin Clark took over.

The Hawkeyes star hit four three-pointers in the quarter alone. No matter who defended her, the result was the same — swish. Iowa outscored LSU 24-13 in the third to enter the final period with an 11-point cushion.

The Tigers cut the lead to five to start the fourth but Iowa would not relent. Clark would continue her shooting tear while Kate Martin also provided the Hawkeyes a boost on offense.

As the dust settled, Iowa women's basketball took home the victory, 94-87.

Clark shot a total of nine 3-pointers en route to a 41-point outing. On the other side, Reese also had a game herself for LSU. The forward scored 17 points and hauled down 20 rebounds to finish her season.

Whatever opinion one may have on both players, there's no denying the fact that they're the reason why women's college basketball is at an all-time high right now.