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Iowa’s Caitlin Clark was a ‘queen among women’ to reach Final Four

ALBANY — Caitlin Clark did it like superstars do, in any sport. She elevated her team and the entire state of Iowa at the same time, after the last two years of elevating women’s basketball to unprecedented heights.

When it was over, after dribbling the final seconds of Iowa 94, LSU 87, after joining her teammates in a happy embrace, after tossing the basketball to her older brother who was standing alongside his father in the stands . Behind the Iowa bench, after posing on the field with her parents and holding up four final fingers, she lay on a bed of confetti, the Most Valuable Player trophy on her chest, the image of euphoria, of a dream pursued and captured.

Caitlin Clark returns to the Final Four in Cleveland.

It was 9:56 p.m. when she stood atop a ladder and looked out at the celebrating Iowa crowd with a big smile, scissors in hand. Cut.

We often talk about male players rising to the occasion as a man among boys.

We should now marvel at Caitlin Clark as a woman among girls.

Caitlin Clark scored 41 points in Iowa’s Elite Eight win Monday. Getty Images
Caitlin Clark celebrates after Iowa beat LSU to advance to the Final Four. Getty Images

“There were a lot of great players on the court — she was like a queen among women if you could even put it that way,” ESPN color analyst Rebecca Lobo told the Post.

I bet the little boys watching were inspired too.

It was compelling theater every step of the way, and with every 3 times she rained from the sky, with every pinpoint pass she delivered, it seemed like the entire state of Iowa was inside MVP Arena.

“I don’t worry about what the other team does, I don’t worry about what the referee calls, I worry about what Iowa needs,” Clark said. “I always had basketball skills, it just helped me improve my mind.”

Caitlin Clark made nine 3-pointers and added 12 assists in Iowa’s Elite Eight win. USA TODAY Sports

Her legacy would have been intact as an eternal legend even if she hadn’t scored 41 points to avenge last year’s loss to Angel Reese and LSU in the championship game.

Resting on her laurels was not an option for her.

Neither lost, and neither ever got to play another game with teammates she loves for a school and state she loves.

“There could have been no one in the gym and both teams would have competed exactly the same,” Clark said.

There was a lot of talk about how she and Reese were the female version of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in basketball. Caitlin Clark (Des Moines’ 9 of 20, 13 of 29 overall, seven rebounds, 12 assists, five turnovers) showed up as both, as did Steph Curry and Michael Jordan in Game 7.

She was an unstoppable force of nature, a cold-blooded assassin who could not be denied.

“Whenever the moment is big, she meets the moment,” Lobo said. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

She is the face of women’s basketball and a marketer’s delight. Yes, that’s her in the State Farm commercial. She is the all-time leading scorer in major college basketball history, for both women and men. She is an inspiration to young girls in Iowa and beyond who wear her number 22 and aspire to be a Caitlin Clark, and she embraces it all.

Caitlin Clark and Iowa will face UConn in the Final Four on Friday. P.A.

Team USA wants her to join. She will be the first pick in the WNBA draft.

It’s good to be Caitlin Clark.

“I thought my shot was good in warmups,” she said.

When she hit a 3 that gave Iowa an 80-69 lead, she thumped her chest and looked at the Iowa fans and exulted.

“I think I just got excited for a second,” she said with a laugh. “Sometimes you get a little excited about yourself and you do things you don’t even realize you’re doing. But I think it’s the only 3 I’ve celebrated.

Caitlin Clark was a “queen among women” on Monday, said ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo. P.A.

Reese (17 points on 7-of-21 shooting, 20 rebounds) had sprained his ankle and left the game for a few minutes in the second quarter. She committed a foul with 1:45 remaining. A year ago, she threw the ring finger at Clark on her way to the national championship. She sat at the end of the bench and looked at the scoreboard when Clark made two free throws at the end. It read Clark 39 – as in the dots.

“We want to win two more and I think we have the power to do that,” Clark said.

LSU coach Kim Mulkey had a message for Caitlin Clark: “I’m really happy you’re leaving.” She added: “I’ve never seen anything like it. »

Reese, tears in his eyes during his press conference, his immediate future uncertain, told Caitlin Clark: “Go win it. »

Who would bet against Greatlin Clark?

New York Post

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