Iowa’s Final Four win over top-seeded South Carolina on Friday night was the first time LSU coach Kim Mulkey had watched star Caitlin Clark play in person.
She and LSU women’s basketball (33-2) will get far more up-close and personal with Clark and her Hawkeyes teammates when the two teams square off for the NCAA championship inside American Airlines Center on Sunday (2:30 p.m., ABC).
“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,” Mulkey said.
After LSU rallied in the second half to knock off Virginia Tech, 79-72, in the first Final Four game, Clark proceeded to post 41 points against the Gamecocks, the reigning national champions, in the nightcap.
Clark obviously will be the main focal point for LSU’s scouting report. But how you go about stopping her is tricky, Mulkey said.
“She’s going to get her points. That girl is phenomenal at 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,” Mulkey said. “You have great players that can get numbers, but she makes others on her team better.
“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. 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.”
It didn’t take Mulkey long to watch Clark know that she will be a handful to deal with. With a national championship, which will be the first for either team if they win, up for grabs, the LSU coach hopes her team can rise to the challenge.
“That’s my first time to see her play in person. When I did get out there, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her,” Mulkey said.
“Gosh, she’s special. She’s special.”
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Got questions regarding LSU/UL athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at [email protected].