LSU’s Kim Mulkey praises Iowa’s Caitlin Clark after Elite Eight loss

LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey had nothing but praise for Iowa star point guard Caitlin Clark after the Lady Hawkeyes defeated the national reigning champs.

Asked about her team’s defensive tactics to defend Clark, who had 41 points against the Lady Tigers, after the 94-87 loss to Iowa on Monday night in Albany, New York, Mulkey admitted to not having a ‘whole lot of strategy,’ adding that ‘you gotta guard her, nobody else seems to be able to guard her.’

‘We didn’t even guard her last year when we beat ’em,’ she then joked before giving the Iowa star her flowers. 

‘She’s just a generational player and she just makes everybody around her better,’ Mulkey pointed out, adding: ‘That’s what the great ones do. I think they had a kid who had 21 and 18, she had 12 assists. Caitlin Clark isn’t going to beat you by yourself… It’s what she does to make those other teammates better that helps her score points and them score points to beat you.

‘What did I say to her [after the game]? I said I sure am glad you leaving. I said, girl, you something else. Never seen anything like it.’ 

Lady Tigers coach Kim Mulkey had nothing but praise for Caitlin Clark after LSU’s loss to Iowa

Clark avenged last year's NCAA title game with 41 pts & 12 assists in Iowa's 94-87 win, Monday

Clark avenged last year’s NCAA title game with 41 pts & 12 assists in Iowa’s 94-87 win, Monday

Clark, whose record-breaking exploits have brought unprecedented attention to women’s basketball, made nine 3-pointers (27 points) as part of her double-double display in her avengement of her team’s loss to LSU in last year’s NCAA Tournament title game.

‘It’s amazing to be back in the Final Four. It’s so hard to get back there,’ Clark said. ‘This region was really hard, but we told ourselves we are the one seed for a reason.’

Top-seeded Iowa (33-4) will play either UConn or Southern California in the national semifinals Friday night in Cleveland.

Monday’s highly anticipated matchup drew a record 9.9 million viewers.

Both teams wished that this meeting had come later in the tournament instead of with a Final Four berth at stake, but that was out of their control.

Clark, who also scored 41 points in the regional final last year, and Angel Reese of LSU put on a memorable show for the sold-out crowd and the millions watching.

‘I think it’s just great for the sport, just being able to be a part of history. Like I said, no matter which way it went tonight, I know this was going to be a night for the ages,’ said Reese, who had 17 points and 20 rebounds before fouling out with 1:45 left. ‘And just being able to be a part of history is great. Playing against another great player, of course, is always amazing.’

Clark made nine shots from behind the arc vs. LSU, resulting in 27 points from 3-pointers made

Clark made nine shots from behind the arc vs. LSU, resulting in 27 points from 3-pointers made

Clark has already declared for this year’s WNBA draft. Reese, too, will have a decision to make about whether to turn pro or come back for one more season.

With the game tied at 45 after an entertaining first half, Clark took over in the third quarter. The NCAA Division I all-time scoring leader hit four 3-pointers, each deeper than the previous one. Her fourth of the quarter, from her signature logo range, made it 61-52. It also was the 538th of her career, which made her the all-time leader in that category among NCAA Division I players, passing Oklahoma’s Taylor Robertson. 

Clark also broke the NCAA Tournament assists record of 136 that was held by Temeka Johnson of LSU. Clark has 140. She matched Courtney Moses of Purdue in 2012 and Kia Nurse of UConn in 2017 with her nine 3-pointers.

‘My shot felt good in warmups. Helps when you make your first 3 as a shooter,’ Clark said. ‘Made my first to start the second half, that helps too. Nice to have a game where I got some good looks from 3.’



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