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ESPN's Molly Qerim suggests Caitlin Clark, Iowa ‘lucky’ UConn is not at full strength entering Final Four

ESPN’s Molly Qerim suggests Caitlin Clark, Iowa ‘lucky’ UConn is not at full strength entering Final Four

طوبیٰ Tooba 4 months ago 0 2

Caitlin Clark has taken the college basketball world by storm. The sharp shooting guard has shattered numerous records and is the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I among women and men.

Clark’s accomplishments have helped bring unprecedented attention to the game, and virtually everyone in the sports world has an opinion on the presumptive top overall selection in the upcoming WNBA Draft.

Longtime ESPN host Molly Qerim shared her thoughts on Clark during a recent edition of “First Take,” suggesting Iowa’s favorable odds heading into its Final Four matchup with UConn were a product of the Huskies’ injury woes.

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Molly Qerim broadcasts

ESPN’s “First Take” broadcasts live from Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium with host Molly Qerim ahead of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic Sept. 2, 2022. (Julie Vennitti Botos/USA Today Netowrk)

“All I gotta say is she’s lucky this UConn team isn’t healthy,” Qerim said. “And that’s a true statement.”

UConn has experienced a considerable number of injuries this season, with Azzi Fudd and Aubrey Griffin suffering season-ending injuries.

EX-LSU STAR RIPS KIM MULKEY’S GAME PLAN AFTER CAITLIN CLARK’S EPIC PERFORMANCE

But UConn superstar Paige Bueckers has been mostly healthy and had another impressive season. In 2021, she was a unanimous first-team All-American. 

She also took home virtually every top college basketball award that year, including the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith College Player of the Year and The Associated Press women’s college basketball player of the year honors. The Huskies advanced to the Final Four that season.

Paige Bueckers looks on

Paige Bueckers of the Connecticut Huskies during the second half against the USC Trojans in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament at Moda Center April 1, 2024, in Portland, Ore (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

But Bueckers has also faced multiple injury setbacks throughout her standout career. She underwent ankle surgery following her standout freshman campaign. She then missed 19 games her sophomore season after undergoing a procedure to repair leg injuries

Aaliyah Edwards has also been a vital part of UConn’s success this season. Shortly after her initial comment, Qerim took what appeared to be another jab at Clark.

“If Paige Bueckers didn’t basically miss two seasons, I don’t know if we’d be talking about Caitlin Clark the way we are right now. And that’s facts,” Qerim said. 

Some fans took issue with Qerim’s commentary and took to social media to respond.

“Good lord… I’m happy for women’s basketball but some of these takes,” one person wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Caitlin Clark after win

Caitlin Clark (22) of the Iowa Hawkeyes and her teammates celebrate after beating the LSU Tigers 94-87 in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament at MVP Arena April 1, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The Clark-led Hawkeyes defeated the defending champion LSU Tigers in the Elite Eight. LSU star Angel Reese reinjured her ankle during the game, but she did not use the setback as an excuse for how she finished the game.

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“I’m tough, so I tried to play through it, of course, and this is something that has been going on for a little while now,” Reese said. “But I played through it, and I’m not going to make that excuse for the rest of my play for the game.”

Reese ended the night with 17 points.

Iowa plays UConn Friday in the Final Four at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

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