He Iowa Hawk Eyes and LSU Tigers looked set for an instant classic in the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament National Championship Game. The game was played with incredible intensity from the get-go, with superstars from both sides putting in incredible performances and players from the bench as Jasmine Carson enjoying a national coming-out party on the sport’s biggest stage.
LSU defeated Iowa, 102-85, to win its first national championship in program history. It was a great game that should have been even better. Instead of talking about Caitlin Clark’s world-class shooting or Angel Reese’s monstrous rebounding, most fans talked about the referees after the game.
The referees whistled 37 fouls throughout the match, a new record for any game in the NCAA women’s tournament, with many of the best players on both sides struggling with foul problems and losing valuable playing time because of it. Clark, the rare star of college basketball, was whistled for a ridiculous technical foul late in the third quarter, while LSU head coach Kim Mulkey reprimanded the officials without penalty.
Clark was called for a technical foul for throwing the ball behind her back after a foul call on a teammate:
Technical fouls also count as personal fouls, and this was Clark’s fourth. Iowa took her out of the game after it happened, but the Hawkeyes had other problems, too. Co-stars Monika Czinano and McKenna Warnock also fouled out four times in the fourth quarter, with Czinano ultimately fouling out.
While the biggest star in the game was thrown off the court by refs due to a silly foul, LSU coach Mulkey walked all over the court for the entire game and never received a technical. At one point, Mulkey even made physical contact with an official without a penalty.
Everyone was in disbelief that Mulkey didn’t get a T:
I really can’t believe that technical. Mulkey has been LSU’s sixth player on the court ALL game and the refs look the other way…the best player in the country, with a historic tournament, throws the ball away and you’re facing the fourth foul from her.
—nick wright (@getnickwright) April 2, 2023
How did Clark get a technique but Kim Mulkey, who has literally been on the court for most of the game, hasn’t?
—Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) April 2, 2023
Kim Mulkey has walked all over the court and over the officials and has failed to commit technical fouls. This has been wild.
— MA Voepel (@MAVoepel) April 2, 2023
The refs also called a horrific foul on LSU’s Angel Reese in the first half. Reese was fouled three times in the first half and had to watch out for the rest of the game.
This game broke the record for most fouls in a championship by 10 fouls. Ten!
The 37 fouls called today is an NCAA Tournament record for a single game. 10 more than the previous record in a title game and one more than the previous record for the tournament.
— Nancy Armor (@nrarmour) April 2, 2023
While the refs messed up the flow of the game, LSU was playing at such a high level that it may not have mattered. The Tigers set a record for the most points scored in a national title game, and they were on fire shooting from the field throughout the game.
LSU shot 11-for-17 from three-point range and 54.3 percent from the field. Carson scored a team-high 22 points off the bench, while Alexis Morris had 21 points. Reese, LSU’s biggest star, had 15 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals in a tremendous overall performance.
Reese taunted Clark throughout the game. clark had been doing the “I can’t feel my face” move throughout March Madnessand Reese gave it back:
While the LSU players were fun to root for and likable, not everyone is happy to see Mulkey get another championship ring.
Kim Mulkey said fans should punch critics in the face when Art Briles and Baylor had 52 sexual assault allegations in a 4-year period.
Congratulations to the LSU players.
—RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) April 2, 2023
The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament was amazing. But please, refs, let the players play and don’t let the coaches walk all over them.