Kaitlin Clark, Iowa's tight battle against West Virginia in the 32nd round is averaging 4.9 million viewers

Caitlin Clarke's viewership has risen to a new level.

No. 1 Iowa State's 64-54 win over eighth-ranked West Virginia on Monday night — Clark's final home game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City — averaged 4.9 million viewers on ESPN. This viewing figure breaks the record for the largest television audience for a women's tournament before the Final Four. The previous record was set in Iowa State's first-round win over Holy Cross Saturday afternoon on ABC. That game attracted 3.23 million viewers.

These are truly amazing numbers. As Sports Media Watch noted, Iowa's win over West Virginia is the third-largest crowd for any women's tournament game in the past 20 years behind last year's national championship loss to LSU (9.92 million) and its national semifinal win over South Carolina two days earlier. (5.60 million).

Sports Media Watch also reported that the ESPN family of networks saw other games exceed 2 million viewers in the first rounds, a new frontier for the sport. Connecticut's win over Syracuse on Tuesday night drew 2.05 million viewers while LSU's win over Middle Tennessee on ABC on Sunday drew 2.01 million viewers.

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(Photo: Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

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