What Iowa's Caitlin Clark, Lisa Bluder said about NCAA championship vs Kim Mulkey, LSU

·3 min read

DALLAS – Iowa gave South Carolina space at the arc all night Friday, daring the Gamecocks to shoot from deep.

They won't be doing the same against LSU women's basketball on Sunday. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said Saturday she feels like they're playing South Carolina again with "a little bit better shooters." Both Iowa (31-6) and LSU (33-2) will be playing in their first NCAA national championship on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) at the American Airlines Center.

Iowa is familiar with LSU starters Angel Reese and Kateri Poole. Both players transferred to LSU this season from Big Ten teams.

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"Angel Reese is a fabulous basketball player, and obviously we coached against her when she was at Maryland," Bluder said. "We coached against Poole when she was at Ohio State. So we do have some familiarity with these players. Angel just seems to be playing a little bit more free at LSU. I mean, averaging 23 points a game. She shoots the ball incredibly well. But six-and-a-half offensive rebounds? We're going against another rebounding monster team. They're just incredibly good at that.

"So we have our work cut out for us, but we feel like it's a lot like playing South Carolina."

LSU averages nearly 15 attempts from behind the arc a game, shooting 33.7% as a team. Poole leads the team in 3-point percentage at 43% on 60 attempts. Alexis Morris and Jasmine Carson are the highest-volume shooters from deep, and both shoot 33%. Morris has taken 146 treys and Carson has shot 172 this season. Freshman Flau'jae Johnson is a threat from deep, too, going 33-for-99 from behind the arc.

National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark, who scored 41 points in the 77-73 upset of South Carolina on Friday, said Iowa will not guard LSU the same way it guarded South Carolina. Clark said with the post presence the Gamecocks have, the Hawkeyes had to pick their poison, and they chose the 3-point shooting because they have "all the respect in the world for South Carolina, and especially their post play."

"We're a smaller team. We had to go down there and double them," Clark said Saturday. "They still doubled us on rebounding. But we never got discouraged, and I think that speaks to this team is. ...

"I think it's just confidence and resiliency. You've just got to pick and choose within a scout. And Coach Bluder is a very good coach about player personnel. We're going to have a different game plan for every single team."

The matchup also features two of the best trash-talkers in the country in Clark and Reese. Clark believes it's good for the game, because it gets people excited to watch.

It won't be "Caitlin vs. Angel" because that won't win the national championship, Clark said, but it gets viewers to turn the TV on.

"I think more than anything people are starting to understand women can play with excitement and a passion and a fire about themselves," Clark said. "That's what's fun. That's what people want to see. But you leave it on the court. When you step off the court, you're friends. You support one another. You love the game. You love getting to watch them. I've loved watching LSU this year. They've been tremendous, and what Kim Mulkey has been able to build there in her short time is nothing short of remarkable."

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Caitlin Clark: Iowa star on Kim Mulkey, LSU in NCAA championship