The 2023 Women’s basketball tournament was a memorable one. Both the LSU Tigers and Iowa Hawkeyes put up a fierce fight in the final game, keeping fans on the edge of their seats. In the end, Angel Reese and her team emerged victorious and claimed the championship title. LSU’s impressive 102-point performance led them to their first-ever national championship win. The game’s intensity peaked in the last moments, as Tigers’ star forward Angel Reese executed the same “Can’t See Me” move that Caitlin Clark had used in Iowa’s semifinal win against South Carolina.
Caitlin Clark recently joined Stephen A Smith and Mark Shapiro for a conversation discussing the aftermath in Iowa’s locker room when Angel Reese unexpectedly won the NCAA title.
Caitlin Clark ponders her defeat in the championship game.
On Friday night, the University of Iowa’s homecoming festivities were the main event as numerous people gathered at the Pentacrest to see basketball standout Caitlin Clark, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, and UI graduate Mark Shapiro. The excitement started with the homecoming parade, with Clark leading as grand marshal. Afterwards, families and students flocked to the Pentacrest to catch a glimpse of the talented basketball player.
During the evening, the most noteworthy event was a 20-minute exchange held outside the Old Capitol Building. The subjects discussed included Clark’s contributions to women’s sports, her experiences at the university, and her impact on college basketball. In the course of the dialogue, Caitlin Clark was prompted to reflect on the painful recollection of her defeat to the LSU Tigers and the insights she gained from it.
She stated, “I believe the greatest challenge in my learning process is recognizing the difficulty of reaching that level. With around 360 Division One basketball teams, it is incredibly challenging to make it there. It’s not an easy feat and it will be equally difficult to return.”
Clark shared the most important lesson she gained from her experience, stating, “I learned to appreciate every moment. Even in the locker room, after a tough game when you’re crying and feeling down, you come to realize that you’re not truly upset…”
You may be feeling disappointed about the loss, but what’s really getting to you is the fact that your season has come to an end and you won’t have the opportunity to practice with your teammates the following day. This highlights the strong bond and enjoyment our team shared.
Clark stated, “The previous year, we were defeated by Creighton in the round of 32, which was a failure. However, I believe that it fueled our motivation for the following year, knowing it was our last chance to play together as a starting team.”
I believe that was our motivation to reach the final four, make it to the national championship, and have faith in our abilities.
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Although the loss was devastating for Iowa, Caitlin Clark had an undeniably exceptional year.
Caitlin Clark’s remarkable 2022-2023 season
Caitlin Clark was unable to lead the Hawkeyes to the national title, but her performance in the NCAA Tournament was remarkable. Despite standing at 6 feet tall, the guard scored an impressive 30 points in the championship game, bringing her total points for the tournament to a record-breaking 191. This surpasses the accomplishments of men’s tournament stars Glen Rice (184 points) and Sheryl Swoopes (177 points).
Clark made history as the first female athlete to achieve consecutive 40-point games in the NCAA Tournament. She stunned with 41 points against South Carolina, who had not lost a game prior to their matchup in the semifinals. Her 11th career triple-double propelled her team to victory in the regional final.
In her 100th game with Iowa, she continued her impressive streak of scoring in double digits for an incredible 90 consecutive games, which is the longest in all of NCAA Division I. She holds a unique record as the only player in Division I, regardless of gender, to have accumulated over 2,700 points, 700 rebounds, and 700 assists throughout her career, along with an impressive 43 double-doubles. But her achievements go beyond just these statistics.
The NCAA Women’s Tournament had record-breaking attendance and viewership on all ESPN channels this year. 5.5 million viewers watched the national quarterfinal for Iowa, which was a 72% increase for the network compared to last year. But beyond just the numbers and standout performances, Clark’s goal is to inspire the next generation of talented basketball players.
After losing to Angel Reese and her team, she held back her tears and expressed, “I want my legacy to be the influence I can have on young children and the community in Iowa. I hope that this season has brought them a great deal of happiness. Our team may have fallen short by one win, but I believe we have many reasons to be proud and to celebrate. I was once that young girl, and I want others to know that all it takes is a dream to achieve moments like this.”
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Can Caitlin Clark win the NCAA title this year? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Caitlin Clark shares her experience of being in the Iowa locker room after Angel Reese’s victory over the NCAA title.