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In Philadelphia, fans gather to watch women's Elite Eight showdown between Iowa and LSU: "They play really tough"

March Madness continues: Fans in Philly gather to watch Iowa-LSU showdown
March Madness continues: Fans in Philly gather to watch Iowa-LSU showdown 01:39

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Monday's NCAA Elite Eight women's matchup between the University of Iowa and Louisiana State University captivated sports fans far and wide.

At Wicked Wolf, a sports bar in Center City, there was a full-court press of passion and support for arguably the greatest women's college basketball tournament in history.

"This is a highly anticipated rematch from last year," said Stevie Nettles, a Temple University alumna who now works in sports media.

Nettles watched Angel Reese and LSU take on Caitlin Clark and Iowa with her colleague Jalissa Breeland at Wicked Wolf, where every TV screen showed the game. 

"I was looking at the ticket sales earlier, and the tickets are expensive," Breeland said. "I love that for them."

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese on the court during an Elite Eight game
Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes and Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Tigers wait for the ball to be inbounded during the Elite Eight round of the 2024 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament held at MVP Arena on April 1 in Albany, New York. Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Rhonda Feder scored tickets to the Sweet 16 game on Saturday. She drove from Philly to Albany, New York, to cheer on her alma mater, LSU.

"It's just so much fun to watch and they're amazing," she said. "It was a very competitive game."

It's the fierce competitiveness that has millions of eyes locked in on the women's game.

"Their heart, their hustle, their passion," Brandon Byrd said as he tuned in. "They play really tough."

John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State University, said the momentum comes down to expanding visibility and remarkable star talent dominating like Clark, Reese, JuJu Watkins at USC and Paige Bueckers at UConn.

"There are several stars that people are beginning to know in the women's game," Affleck said. "It really creates a new paradigm."

Affleck also said this era of NCAA Women's basketball has an element of unpredictability.  

"The days of the Tennessee dynasty and then the Connecticut dynasty are basically over. Any of the Elite Eight teams can take the championship," Affleck said.

"Watching women do it and do it so well is pretty special," Feder said. "It's a great time to watch women's sports."

In the end, Iowa defeated LSU 94-87.

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