Caitlin Clark of Iowa Prioritizes Quick Opening Over Dwelling on Last Home Match

Caitlin Clark's historic triple-double

Caitlin Clark of Iowa Prioritizes Quick Opening Over Dwelling on Last Home Match

BollywoodFever, March 24: Caitlin Clark is focusing her attention away from the sentimental aspects of her final home game with Iowa and toward the strategic elements of their upcoming NCAA tournament second-round face-off against West Virginia. As the top seed in the Albany 2 Region, Clark and her teammates are bracing for a rigorous challenge from the eighth-seeded Mountaineers.

Clark emphasized the significance of a vigorous outset in Sunday’s remarks, noting, “Coming out with a strong start will be really important for us; I think that goes for any game

Caitlin Clark's historic triple-double

But our group has played in quite a few March Madness games where we didn’t come out and set the tone, and we were able to take a breath and respond. I think understanding we’re not going to win by 25 points. 

That’s not what this is at this point. It’s going to come down to single possessions, and you have to execute possessions. You need to get [offensive] boards. We need to not turn the ball over. Little things like that.”

The Iowa team took note of the upset suffered by the Big Ten regular-season champions, Ohio State Buckeyes, who were defeated on their home court in the second round by the Duke Blue Devils in the Portland 3 Region. 

This scenario was a sober reminder for the Hawkeyes, who have experienced both a home defeat as a No. 2 seed two years prior and a narrowly secured victory in the previous season’s second round.

“Our group knows better than anybody this is a game that is going to be close,” Clark said regarding the match against the Big 12’s Mountaineers. “Doesn’t really matter what number is next to your name. That’s what makes this tournament so fun. You’ve got to come ready to play. 

Georgia gave us a great battle [last year]. It just shows how important singular possessions are in these types of games.”

West Virginia, sharing fourth place in the Big 12 with Iowa State and Baylor, is adapting to leadership under Mark Kellogg, their second new head coach in consecutive years, following Dawn Plitzuweit’s departure to Minnesota after a single season.

Under Kellogg’s guidance, West Virginia has revived the intense pressure defense characteristic of former coach Mike Carey, who retired post the 2021-22 season. This season, the team topped the Big 12 in steals, with an average of 13.9 per game, driven by the dynamic guard duo of JJ Quinerly (19.9 PPG, 2.9 SPG) and Jordan Harrison (13.9 PPG, 3.9 SPG).

Caitlin Clark's historic triple-double

Kellogg expressed confidence in his team’s defensive prowess, stating, “I think we’re really good defensively. We’re aggressive by nature, but we’re not the biggest team, either. We don’t have a ton of size, so we kind of have to make up for it in other areas.”

For Iowa’s seniors, Caitlin Clark, Kate Martin, and Gabbie Marshall, the upcoming game marks their final appearance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, a venue where their popularity has led to a sold-out season.

However, Clark highlights the team’s focus remains sharp on the competition rather than the emotional weight of the farewell. “The environment is too competitive. You’re wanting to win so bad, that’s not really what you’re focused on,” Clark commented. She further mentioned the strategic advantage of playing at home, “That’s something that will hit you either after the game or once the season ends. More than anything, we need to use the crowd to our advantage. Having 15,000 people that want to cheer for you, that’s huge.”

Also Read, Caitlin Clark’s Father Intervenes to Soothe Her During Heated Moments in Iowa’s Victory Over Holy Cross

LSU’s Angel Reese Bids Farewell to Middle Tennessee State Player Exiting After Foul Out

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Pooja Chauhan

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