Caitlin Clark. Let's just get those words out of the way. The leader of Lisa Bluder's team, the junior is the heart and soul of Iowa Women's Hoops and the face of Women's College Basketball. But this team is so much more than her and so fun to watch.
Doug here, and for years, I've contended that Women's College Basketball is more fun to watch than the Men's version. It's a more pure game and the proper application of fundamentals are rewarded. It's less flashy and more "X's and O's." And Lisa Bluder knows her team. She knows their strengths and weaknesses. It's rare that she is outcoached, and a lot of that comes back to her coaching staff. Jan Jensen, Raina Harmon and Abby Stamp all play their parts on the staff, and play them well. At times, Lensen almost seems like the Co-Head Coach of the team and the respect the players, staff and fans have for her is obvious.
We've been blessed with phenomenal Center play in the past few years, and while she hasn't made us forget about Megan Gustafson, Monica Czinano's inside presence is tailored after the player she learned so much from. McKenna Warnock's inside game has been so important to this team, just like Kate Martin's threes and defense, they have been indispensable.
Gabbie Marshall had a rough first two-thirds of the season, and Iowa Women's play-by-play announcer, Rob Brooks noted to me in a recent conversation, her renaissance almost coincided with her hot 3-point shooting to close the season. A second sharpshooter on the court takes pressure off of both Clark and Czinano.
Regardless of the run they make in this national championship tournament, we have been blessed with a same starting five again, and watching them grow and meld together has been the stuff dreams are made of. Thank you, Bluder's Bunch!