Iowa coach: Caitlin Clark is POTY because ‘we don’t have 10 All-Americans’

(G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)

Iowa coach Lisa Bluder thinks that sophomore standout Caitlin Clark should win National Player of the Year, giving her a resounding endorsement following Iowa’s 104-80 win over No. 6 Michigan.

The upset win helped the Hawkeyes clinch a share of the Big Ten regular-season title. Clark put up 38 points on 11-of-18 shooting, adding 11 assists and six rebounds in the effort.

The performance followed ESPN giving a unanimous endorsement to South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston for NPOY. Boston is averaging 16.8 points on 54 percent shooting alongside 11.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game for the consensus No. 1 team in the country.

The Gamecocks have been dominant throughout the season. Iowa, for its part, has knocked off three top-10 opponents over the last eight days.

“There’s a lot of great players around America, no doubt. And I’m sure their coaches feel just as strongly about them as I do about Caitlin,” Bluder said following the win. “But Caitlin is in a situation where she has the ball in her hands all the time. And when you have the ball in your hands all the time, you can make an impact in the game — you can also mess it up. There’s a lot of responsibility with that. She has a direct effect on the game when she’s out there.”

Clark averaged 27.1 points on 45.3 percent shooting, eight rebounds and 8.1 assists during the regular season. It’s the second-straight year that Clark has led the nation in points and assists.

On Sunday, Clark also extended her streak of at least 15 points and 5 assists to 18-straight games. The only DI players with longer streaks over the last 20 seasons are Trae Young and Ja Morant, who both now play in the NBA.

“We have great people around Caitlin,” Bluder continued. “We have great basketball players. We don’t have 10 All-Americans like some people do. And there is a difference on that. We play as a team, and we’re very proud of that, but we don’t have 10 All-Americans like other players do.”