DALLAS — Iowa Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder found the officials’ approach “frustrating” in Sunday’s 2023 women’s title game, in which her team fell 102-85 to the UNC Tigers at the American Airlines Center.
“I can’t comment on the referee,” Bluder said postgame. “It’s very frustrating that I feel like I can’t talk to them. I can’t even hear. It’s frustrating, it couldn’t even be a conversation. When your two elders are sitting on the bench. The elders don’t know, I have it, but those two don’t deserve it. I don’t know. It’s too bad. Of course it’s too bad.”
There were 37 foul calls in all by the end of the game, with Hawkeyes fifth-year senior Monika Czinano and senior McKenna Warnock scoring in the fourth quarter at the 6:25 and 1:33 marks, respectively. There are not as many goals as Friday’s national semifinal game between South Carolina-Iowa (38); and UConn had 21 goals in last year’s national championship game, more than even the team on Sunday. James Madison and Ohio State had combined 52 birds in the first round of this year’s tournament.
That said, the first half of just 21 national title games was called foul, with eight players — Angel Reese, Alexis Morris, Kateri Poole, Sa’Myah Smith, Last-Tear Poa, Caitlin Clark, Czinano and Warnock — each. lighten at least two birds.
Fluker also appeared to have an issue with a technical foul called late in the third quarter on Clark — his fourth foul. Clark threw the ball backwards out of bounds after Reese drew a foul on Czinano. The Hawkeyes had cut the 21-point deficit to just seven in the early going, but following a technical and a free throw from Morris, the Tigers extended their lead to double figures and never looked back.
“We cut it to seven in the end, but we couldn’t quite get over the hump,” Clark said. “The burning of your troubles can sometimes hide you too.”
Referee Lisa Jones explained the foul technical call to the reporter’s pool after the game.
“Iowa received a delay of game warning in the third period at the 7:28 mark for a spiked ball behind the basket, causing the delay,” Jones said. “The second offense” was with 22 from Iowa No [Clark] picked up the ball and failed to pass the ball to the nearest official immediately after the whistle was blown…failing and reading, attacking the players, obstructing the ball behind the goal or failing to pass immediately. pass the ball to the nearest official after the whistle. “
Clark offered his impressions in the office.
“I thought he was very tight,” Clark said. “I don’t know about the two splits in the second half. Actually, they saw that I pushed, and they called and whatnot, and then they unfortunately hit a technical in the third for throwing the ball under the basket.
“Sometimes that’s how things go. I thought all I could do was respond and come back from it and keep fighting and try to help that team get back in the game.”
When asked if the crowd’s involvement would hurt the game, Czinano deflected the comment to the officiating.
“Once,” he said, “we cannot live. “All we can do is live in the moment. That game was made. They were called. Going forward, we’ll see what people decide what to do about it.”
Regardless of the job, the Tigers made the plays they needed to win the game, especially on offense, hitting 11 of 17 3s and benching Iowa 30-8.
“A lot of credit to UNC,” Clark said. “They played a great, outstanding game. Some made tough 3s, some knocked down jumpers, and sometimes you have to live with some of that.”