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Geno Auriemma, Caitlin Clark set to square off in Final Four

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PORTLAND, Oregon — Geno Auriemma knows Caitlin Clark is coming for the UConn Huskies

And with that in mind, he wants to get one thing out of the way before Clark and Iowa match up with UConn in the second national semifinal on Friday in Cleveland: He has nothing against her. Nothing at all.

“Yeah, I hope Caitlin Clark had a personal agenda against LSU,” Auriemma said after Clark dropped 41 and Iowa exacted some revenge on the defending champion Tigers in a 94-87 win in their regional final, booking a trip to their second consecutive Final Four. 

“I know there’s nothing personal between me and her. I don’t need to be seeing her drop 50 on us next weekend,” Auriemma deadpanned before laughing along with reporters. “I love her. I think she’s the best player. Forget I ever said Paige (Bueckers) is the best player in the country. I think (Caitlin’s) the best player of all time. I don’t know whoever said Paige is the best player.” 

Monday night against USC — which has its own standout in first-team All-American JuJu Watkins, a freshman — Bueckers scored 28 points, hauled in 10 rebounds, handed out six assists and grabbed three steals in the Huskies’ 80-73 win.

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MORE: What’s next for Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Paige Bueckers after season?

Auriemma knows the truth about great players: Don’t poke the bear. So his comment about Bueckers being the top player in the country — a statement he defended earlier this week when he joked, “I’ve coached the best player in the country more than anyone else in this tournament,” so he would know — was all in good fun, he said Monday night.

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