UConn's Geno Auriemma hopes Iowa 50's Caitlin Clark doesn't 'fall on us' in Final Four

The UConn women's basketball team will spend this week preparing for the challenge.

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

Auriemma closely watched Iowa's Elite Eight matchup with the LSU Tigers. Clark finished 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 matchup, hoping the Iowa star wouldn't single-handedly knock the Huskies out of the tournament.


Head coach Geno Auriemma of the UConn Huskies talks with Kaitlyn Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes after the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 27, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Even though Auriemma now didn't recruit Clark when she was in high school, the legendary college women's basketball coach appears to be doing everything he can to keep her from getting any extra motivation for Friday's Final Four.

UCONN'S PAIGE BUECKERS “America's best player,” coach Geno Auriemma says

“It's pretty cool,” Auriemma said after UConn beat USC to earn a spot in the tournament semifinals. “Next weekend should be just as fun as this weekend. Yes, I hope Caitlin Clark has a personal agenda against LSU. I know there's nothing personal between her and me. I don't need to see her lose 50 to us next. Weekend week, you know?”

Although Auriemma recently declared Paige Bueckers “the best player in America,” he jokingly reversed course and bestowed that 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 ever. I don't know who said, like I said, Paige is the best player in the country.”

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Auriemma directed 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. (Steve Chambers/Getty Images)

“Well, Paige always wanted to be superhero,” Auriemma said. “You can't aspire to be that, but she's trying so hard to be superhuman. Today she was playing against someone who plays like he's superhuman. I think that was probably the toughest match any of these goalkeepers have played in the entire season.” – Maybe since They arrive in Connecticut. “I think the JuJu game might be as difficult as it is for our players.”


Iowa State is a two-and-a-half-point favorite over UConn.

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