The women’s basketball Final Four hasn’t been a sport that many watch, but it’s been in the spotlight this year because of two coaches’ responses to politics and Iowa’s Caitlan Clark, whose game reminds people of Steph Curry and Larry Bird.
Earlier this year, women’s basketball player Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia. It was a political act that received a lot of attention. Then it was reported:
As Brittney Griner found herself sitting in a Russian prison cell waiting to find out if she would spend the rest of her life behind bars on trumped-up drug charges, many of her friends and associates reached out to her or publicly shared their support for her situation and expressed their desire to bring her back to the United States States.
Kim Mulkey, who coached Griner at Baylor, was not one of them.
During Griner’s incarceration, Mulkey, now the head coach at LSU, came under fire when she refused to provide any public support for Griner after she was arrested.
When Griner was safely back in the United States, Coach Mulkey, who is known for dressing smartly on the court while coaching, was asked if she had reached out to Griner.
“No. But I’m glad she’s back,” Mulkey said at a press conference. “I’m glad she’s safe, she’s healthy. I think everyone is. But no, I’m not.”
Mulkey’s LSU won its last game last night and will face Caitlin Clark and Iowa on Sunday.
On the other side of the political spectrum was South Carolina coach Dawn Staley. When it was reported that a fan at a BYU volleyball game yelled racial slurs at a Duke player, Staley responded.
“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement. “The incident at BYU has made me reevaluate our home and home and I don’t feel this is the right time to be involved in this series.”
Duke’s Rachel Robinson claimed a fan subjected her and her black teammates to racial slurs “throughout the game” against BYU. The allegation has been under scrutiny ever since.
BYU officials said they are still investigating the incident, and BYU Police Lt. George Besendorfer said last week that an initial investigation of footage from the crowd did not show a person who was prohibited from yelling anything while Richardson was serving.
Staley is a hell of a basketball coach, but her top-rated team, which won the NCAA tournament last year, lost its first game in a year to Iowa last night.
Iowa is advancing to the championship behind the phenomenal Caitlin Clark, who is being compared to Steph Curry.
Clark is often compared to NBA All-Star Steph Curry because of their shared, seemingly limitless range.
Curry’s father, an NBA star himself, sees similarities between Clark and his son:
Steph Curry’s father, Dell Curry, who played 16 years in the league and is the Charlotte Hornets’ all-time leader in points scored and three-pointers made, told USA TODAY Sports that he also sees similarities in his son and Clark.
“That freedom, it starts with trust — your coach trusting that you’ve put in the effort and that those are good shots for you,” Dell Curry said. “I always say that in basketball we have a lot of shooters. We need more shooters. Obviously, not everyone has the strength to make such shots. But the way Steph changed what a good shot is in the NBA, she absolutely did the same in the women’s game.”
Tomorrow, Iowa plays LSA in the NCAA Women’s Championship.