Caitlin Clark mastered her mental game and that has Iowa in the title game

When the Hawkeyes’ offense was struggling against UConn on Friday night, when none of Clark’s shots were falling, when the Huskies were bodying the Iowa players from the moment they inbounded the ball, Clark could easily have gotten frustrated. Would easily have gotten frustrated in seasons past.

Instead, she stayed almost preternaturally calm. She didn’t throw up her hands or roll her eyes. She didn’t bite when UConn tried to bait her into losing her cool. She was calm when she did talk to the refs.  She recognized that UConn locking her down was opening things up for Hannah Stuelke and fed the sophomore inside. Continuously.

Impressive as those logo 3s and her scoring average are, it’s Clark’s maturity that has brought the Hawkeyes within one game of winning it all. And she and everyone else at Iowa agree it’s that part of her game that’s come the furthest these last four seasons.

“That doesn’t come without work. She’s put in a lot of work to the mental side of her game,” Kate Martin, who has played with Clark all four years, said Saturday. “That just shows how good of a teammate she is. She wanted to be better. She has all the basketball skills that she needs. She’s the best player in the country. But to work on the mental side, you can always get better on that.

FOLLOW THE MADNESS: NCAA basketball bracket, scores, schedules, teams and more.

“She’s a fiery passionate player, which is what we need and what we want on our team. That just elevates everybody else on our team,” Martin continued. “But for her to be staying so level-headed and so poised in these last few games has been tremendous and I’m really proud of her. Because we need it. When we see that she’s calm and not frazzled, then that keeps the rest of us calm, too.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *