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‘Frustrating’ foul calls plague Iowa and LSU in national title game

Iowa's Caitlin Clark and Monika Czinano react to a foul call during Sunday's national championship game. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

LSU’s national championship win against Iowa featured plenty of excitement, and the officiating injected a bit of extra drama into the proceedings.

The game featured 37 fouls. And while each team received its share, with 19 for Iowa compared to 18 for LSU, that just meant both sides took issue with the referees in turn.

LSU coach Kim Mulkey expressed her frustration after star Angel Reese received her second foul in the second quarter. At halftime, six of the 10 starters had at least two fouls to their names.

With one minute remaining in the third quarter, Iowa star Caitlin Clark received a technical foul — also her fourth personal foul — after she flipped the ball out of bounds following a play, a decision that baffled analysts and fans alike.

WNBA players were those who questioned the officiating, including two-time MVP Elena Delle Donne, who called on the refs to “please stop inserting yourselves in this game!”

Three of Iowa’s starters finished the game with at least four fouls, including Clark, who said the refs called a “very, very tight” game. Monika Czinano and McKenna Warnock fouled out of the 102-85 loss.

“Obviously foul trouble not really what you want in a national championship game, especially for our two seniors who have given so much to this program and had to finish their career on the bench,” Clark said. “It’s not something they deserved by any means.”

When asked specifically about Czinano, Clark repeated that sentiment.

“I was really bummed that someone that has made me a really good player had to spend the last five minutes on the bench,” Clark said of Czinano. “She deserved a little better than that.”

Iowa coach coach Lisa Bluder also voiced her disappointment after the game.

“I can’t comment on the officials. It’s very frustrating because I feel like I can’t talk to them,” she said. “They won’t even listen. That’s what’s frustrating is there wasn’t even a conversation that could be had.”