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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Ladies’s NCAA championship: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, LSU’s Angel Reese replicate on their must-see matchup in Dallas

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DALLAS — Iowa and LSU are set to satisfy in Sunday’s nationwide title recreation to conclude an exhilarating NCAA Ladies’s Event. Neither program had ever made it this far earlier than, however this season is totally different as they each rely on gamers that carry an enormous burden and put up unimaginable stats on a nightly foundation: Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, whose matchup might be must-watch TV.

Reese, who transferred from Maryland final yr, is properly conscious of the headlines heading into Sunday’s recreation.

“I feel me and Caitlin, me and her are in the identical class. Me and her are the highest two [players] everyone’s taking a look at. The each of us. We’re each nice gamers,” Reese mentioned. “I feel we carry lots to the sport. Lots of people respect us — NBA gamers, rappers, everyone respects us. And I feel that simply helps develop our recreation.”

No. 3 seed LSU has been dominant on either side of the ball with the second finest scoring margin (+25.1) within the nation this season. The Tigers are among the finest rebounding groups with 46.6 boards per recreation, and their protection ranks within the high 25 nationally as they’re holding opponents to simply 56.7 factors per recreation. LSU owns the fifth finest offense within the nation, averaging 81.8 factors per recreation. Though fifth-year guard Alexis Morris has had plenty of huge video games — together with 27 factors towards Virginia Tech within the Ultimate 4 — Reese’s stats have been turning heads all season. 

Reese is averaging 23.3 factors and 15.6 rebounds this season, choosing up 33 double-doubles alongside the way in which — an SEC convention report. The “Bayou Barbie” led her staff previous the No. 1-seeded Hokies with 24 factors and 12 boards. The Hokies had some stable offensive gamers in Georgia Amoore and ACC Participant of the 12 months Elizabeth Kiltey, however Reese understands that the Hawkeyes might be an much more tough staff to outscore.

No. 2 seed Iowa leads the nation in scoring with 87.6 factors per recreation, and Clark — the Naismith Participant of the 12 months — is chargeable for most of it as a result of when she’s not scoring, she’s serving to another person get straightforward pictures. Clark is without doubt one of the high scorers within the nation with 27.3 factors per recreation, and she or he’s additionally main the nation in assists with 8.6 dimes per recreation. Monika Czinano averages 17.2 factors per contest, and she or he makes essentially the most out of Clark’s assists as she shoots at a powerful 67.9% from the sector. 

“Caitlin Clark is a superb participant,” Reese mentioned. “It’ll be powerful to cease her from getting her factors, however with the ability to simply comprise her and never letting the supporting solid, her different teammates go off.”

Clark has been placing up spectacular numbers since her freshman season, however this yr she has been reaching new heights. Throughout Iowa’s 97-83 Elite Eight victory over Louisville, Clark registered 41 factors, 12 assists and 10 rebounds — the first ever 40-point triple-double in any males’s or ladies’s NCAA Event recreation. What’s extra spectacular is that no participant had even reached a 30-point triple-double within the Massive Dance earlier than. 

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The Louisville win earned her staff an look to Iowa’s first Ultimate 4 since 1993. Many school basketball followers thought the Hawkeyes’ journey could be over then as a result of they had been competing towards defending nationwide champion and No. 1 general seed South Carolina. Nevertheless, Clark ignored the skin noise to steer her staff to an upset, ending the night time with 41 factors, eight assists and 6 rebounds to grow to be the first school basketball participant — man or lady — to register 41 factors in a semifinal recreation. 

Clark mentioned she has plenty of respect for what coach Kim Mulkey has executed with the Tigers and expects Sunday’s matchup to be a “large recreation.” She is aware of the highlight is on her and Reese, however she is a real staff participant and by no means takes full credit score. Clark understands that her assists solely rely if her teammates make the hampers, and {that a} staff is a couple of particular person. 

“It isn’t going to be Caitlin versus Angel. That is not going to win a nationwide championship, however that is what will get [fans] enthusiastic about watching the sport,” Clark mentioned. “I feel greater than something individuals are beginning to perceive ladies can play with pleasure and a ardour and a hearth about themselves. That is what’s enjoyable. That is what individuals wish to see.”

It doesn’t matter what the result’s on Sunday, Reese feels the battle between her and Clark might be good for the game.

“It is greater than me. It is greater than LSU. It is simply greater,” Reese mentioned. “I really feel prefer it’s for girls’s basketball, and we have helped develop it lots this yr simply with the ability to be who we’re.”

Tip off for LSU and Iowa is ready for Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET . The sport might be obtainable on ABC with streaming on fuboTV (attempt totally free).

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