We’ve seen basketball players with the ball on the three-point line getting lightly covered. We’ve even occasionally seen them get completely ignored. But what Iowa star Caitlin Clark did in Friday’s national semifinal game took it to a new level.
South Carolina’s Raven Johnson had the ball at the three-point line. No Hawkeyes or Gamecocks were close to Johnson. Clark initially moved in Johnson’s direction but stopped.
Clark then looked away from Johnson and only dismissively waived her hand, making it clear to Johnson — as well as everyone else in the building and watching on television — that she wasn’t remotely concerned about Johnson shooting.
Iowa is savage pic.twitter.com/NIyDNXhHB1
— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) April 1, 2023
The basketball world had a lot to say about Clark’s defense and Johnson not taking the shot.
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) April 1, 2023
Yo she pulled a Draymond 😅😅😅😅 https://t.co/y4w5neLG6f
— TheJenBryMan (@MJ24Slayer) April 1, 2023
As a basketball player you cant be guarded like this dawg 😭 https://t.co/xUYJXt8x5G
— Sage (@Unstablee_) April 1, 2023
Smh🤦🏾♂️ playing wit 4 people on offense https://t.co/rtaMUe7SWG
— ⭕️Chaundee️⚠️Brown (@cbrownballin935) April 1, 2023
— Anthony Cover 1 (@Pro__Ant) April 1, 2023
Realistically, when someone is guarded like this, she has to take the shot. By not shooting, Johnson essentially passed the ball into a team playing short-handed. There’s a reason you don’t get that many short-handed goals in hockey. It’s hard for four people to score against five. That’s essentially what Clark, and the rest of the Hawkeyes, were doing here with Johnson and the Gamecocks.
And as Johnson, who is a freshman, looks ahead to the offseason, working on improving her shot will be essential going forward. She doesn’t need to be a great distance shooter but it’s hard to be an effective point guard if defenses aren’t remotely worried about shooting from three-point range.
[CJ Folger, Photo Credit: ESPN]