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UConn’s Geno Auriemma hopes Iowa’s Caitlin Clark won’t ‘drop 50 on us’ in Final Four

The UConn women’s basketball team will spend this week preparing for a challenge. 

The Huskies will have to get past Caitlin Clark and the top-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes if they want to reach the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament title game. UConn’s longtime head basketball coach Geno Auriemma is fully aware of the difficulties that come with facing a team led by Clark, the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer. 

Auriemma kept a close eye on Iowa’s Elite Eight matchup with the LSU Tigers. Clark finished the game with 41 points and 12 assists to help the Hawkeyes clinch a spot in the Final Four. 

Auriemma decided to shower Clark with praise in the days leading up to the highly anticipated UConn-Iowa game, with the hope that the Iowa star will not singlehandedly knock the Huskies out of the tournament.


Head coach Geno Auriemma of the UConn Huskies speaks with Caitlin Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes following the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Womens Basketball Tournament at the Alamodome on March 27, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Although Auriemma now famously did not recruit Clark when she was in high school, the legendary women’s college basketball coach seemed to be doing everything he could to prevent her from having any extra motivation for Friday’s Final Four game.


“It’s pretty remarkable,” Auriemma said after UConn defeated USC to clinch a spot in the tournament semifinals. “Next weekend should be just as much fun as this weekend. Yeah, I hope Caitlin Clark had a personal agenda against LSU. I know there’s nothing personal between me and her. I don’t need to be seeing her drop 50 on us next weekend, you know?”

Caitlin Clark celebrates

Caitlin Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates during the second half against the LSU Tigers in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on April 1, 2024, in Albany, New York. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Although Auriemma recently declared that Paige Bueckers was the “best player in America,” he jokingly reversed course and bestowed the honor on Clark.

“I love her. I think she’s the best player. Forget I ever said Paige is the best player in the country. I think she’s the best player of all time. I don’t know whoever said, that I said, that Paige is the best player in the country.”


Auriemma did direct some of his praise toward Bueckers and USC’s JuJu Watkins. Bueckers finished UConn’s Elite Eight game with 28 points. The UConn women’s basketball program has now advanced to 23 Final Fours.

Paige Bueckers looks on

Paige Bueckers of the Connecticut Huskies during the second half against the USC Trojans in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on April 1, 2024, in Portland, Oregon. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

“Well, Paige always wants to be superhuman,” Auriemma said. “You can’t aspire to be that, but she tries her damnedest to be superhuman. Today she was playing against somebody who plays like they’re superhuman. I think that was probably the toughest matchup that any of those guards had throughout the entire season – maybe since they’ve gotten to Connecticut. I think JuJu is probably as difficult a matchup as there is, or has been, for our players.”


Iowa is a two and half point favorite over UConn. 

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