Kim Mulkey addresses immense challenges of defending Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark
Kim Mulkey has her LSU program through the national semifinals and into the national championship, that’s the good news. The challenging news is that the Tigers now face the challenge of trying to slow down Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark in the national final.
After LSU dispatched Virginia Tech with a 4th-quarter comeback, Iowa toppled No. 1 and previously unbeaten South Carolina in the nightcap. Clark was the catalyst for that upset with 41 points for the Hawkeyes.
On Saturday, Mulkey addressed what Clark brings to the table and the challenges of slowing her down. Mulkey particularly noted Clark’s ability to shoot the ball while making all of her teammates better:
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“I’ve never seen a player — I don’t like to use the word “never,” but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a player that can do what Caitlin does,” said Mulkey. “She’s going to get her points. That girl is phenomenal shooting the ball. But the most impressive thing to me, now that you’re talking to an old point guard, is she makes everybody around her better. You have great players that can get numbers, but she makes others on her team better.”
That assessment certainly rings true for Clark. She led the country in made 3-point field goals this season while finishing second in points per game and leading the nation in assists per game.
Mulkey also highlighted the newness of facing Clark presents some challenges to the game plan that facing South Carolina would not have. The head coach of the Tigers also shared her reaction to seeing Clark play in person for the first time Friday night.
“The familiarity that we would have had with South Carolina would have been easier just because they’re in our league. But just the things she’s capable of doing — one minute you think you’re going to guard her a certain way, then you watch the film and change your mind and go, oh, that’s not going to work,” Mulkey explained. “Hopefully by the end of the day, we’ll come to some conclusion as a staff that we’re going to try this first, and if that doesn’t work, we’ll try this.
“That’s my first time to see her play in person, and I didn’t get to watch the game because I had to deal with y’all. When I did get out there, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Gosh, she’s special. She’s special.”
Sunday’s national championship between the Hawkeyes and Tigers is set for 3:30 pm ET on ABC.
(H/T ASAP Sports)