Sports

Controversial call in Iowa’s narrow victory over UConn draws fiery reaction

The Iowa Hawkeyes are back in the women’s final for the second year in a row, but not without a bit of controversy. 

Iowa battled through a tough first half against UConn where star shooter Caitlin Clark was limited to just six points. A late surge in the second half, coupled with pivotal three-pointers from Clark, kept Iowa in the race. 

Caitlin Clark reacts

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes, celebrates as Nika Muhl, #10 and Aaliyah Edwards, #3, of the UConn Huskies react after a foul called against UConn in the second half during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 5, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

But a costly turnover with just a minute remaining gave way to Nika Muhl’s 3-pointer for a 70-69 Iowa lead.

Then, in dramatic fashion, Aaliyah Edwards was called for an illegal screen on Gabbit Marshall.

Clark made her first free throw attempt, and Sydney Affolter secured the offensive rebound on the second to end it all. 

The controversial call made waves on social media, with many disagreeing with officials. 

“My point of view, it was pretty clean,” Edwards said of the offensive foul after the game. 

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An emotional Paige Bueckers, who dropped 17 points, dismissed the significance the play had on the outcome of the game.

Paige Bueckers reacts

Paige Bueckers, #5, Aaliyah Edwards, #3, and Nika Muhl, #10, of the UConn Huskies, from left, react as they speak with the media after losing to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 5, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio. Iowa defeated Connecticut 71-69.  (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

“Everybody can make a big deal of that one single play, but not one single play wins a basketball game or loses a basketball game. I feel like there was a lot of mistakes that I made that could have prevented that play from even being that big or causing the game [to be lost].”

“Yeah, you can look at one play and say, ‘That killed us’ or ‘That hurt us,’ but we should’ve done a better job – I should’ve done a better job of making sure we didn’t leave the game up to chance like that and leave the game up to one bad call going out way and that deciding it. Yeah, maybe that was a tough call for us, but I feel like I could’ve done a better job of preventing that from even happening.” 

She added, “We can talk about officiating, but players play. Players decide the game.” 

Paige Bueckers dribbles

Paige Bueckers, #5 of the UConn Huskies, looks on in the first half during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 5, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

UConn coach Geno Auriemma, whose reaction on court was hard to miss, seemed displeased with the call after the game. 

“There’s probably an illegal screen call that you could make on every single possession. I just know there were three or four of them called on us, and I don’t think there were any called on them.” 

Iowa moves on to the title, game where they will take on South Carolina.

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