Coach Bluder, teammates show support for Caitlin Clark’s passion on the court

Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 11:51 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa junior guard Caitlin Clark wants to be known as a passionate player.

“In women’s basketball, people need to play with passion. People need to play with that fire. That’s what it’s about. That’s who I am,” Clark said following Iowa’s 93-64 victory over Northwestern.

She was recently penalized for her emotion on the court. Clark missed a shot in the Hawkeyes’ game against the Wildcats, verbally expressed her frustration and was given a technical foul by an official.

“Obviously a frustrating call. It wasn’t to him [official], it wasn’t to the other team, but that’s how things go sometimes. I’m lucky that I have teammates and coaches that have my back. All you can do is respond and keep playing and that’s exactly what I did,” Clark said.

The technical bothered Iowa women’s basketball head coach Lisa Bluder.

“We don’t want a bunch of robots out there. That’s no fun to watch. Caitlin, you can tell, she loves the game. She wants to play, she loves representing the Hawks. Let’s not take that away because that’s what people come to see,” Bluder said.

Clark was also called for an intentional foul in their game at Michigan State. Bluder said despite if an official is rubbed the wrong way, the best players in the game should be protected.

“Caitlin gets held, she gets grabbed, pinched the whole game. I don’t know how Caitlin keeps her composure. I couldn’t do it,” said Bluder. “I will defend Caitlin until the day I die. She puts up with so much on the floor and I just can’t believe we let that happen to her. I just don’t think it would happen to one of the best men’s basketball players in the country,” she added.

Clark brings notoriety to the University of Iowa, attendance to Carver Hawkeye Arena and national eyes on the Hawkeyes.

“It’s pretty neat when you have a player that understands that like Caitlin does and embraces it and really promotes it. It’s just so good for our game,” Bluder said.

The spotlight continues to shine on Clark, but her teammates know that light extends to the entire team.

“Caitlin does bring in a lot of fans and I think it’s really cool and something super special she brings to this team, this program and to women’s basketball throughout this nation. It’s really fun to play in loud crowds everywhere we go,” redshirt senior guard Kate Martin said.

“I think it really shows how special of a player Caitlin is and how grateful we are to be on her team and not play against her. It just gets you that much more excited playing in big games, playing on ESPN, playing on Fox – it’s a big deal,” senior guard Gabbie Marshall said.

For a player averaging 27.1 points per game, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists Clark deserves recognition for how she plays the game. However, it’s her personality and passion that have kids lining up inside arenas to get a glimpse of the superstar.

“We want every kid in the state to be an Iowa women’s basketball player and she’s really channeling that,” Bluder said.

Iowa is back in action Thursday, Feb. 2 when they play host to Maryland.