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Molly Qerim thinks Caitlin Clark is ‘lucky’ to face injury-riddled UConn

Molly Qerim turned some heads Thursday when the ESPN “First Take” host brought a hot take to the program. 

Qerim, a graduate of UConn, questioned whether the hype around Caitlin Clark would be as much as it has been if Huskies star Paige Bueckers hadn’t dealt with so many injuries.

And she added that Iowa was “lucky” that UConn is dealing with so many injuries headed into Friday’s Final Four matchup. 

The comment drew the ire of Stephen A. Smith, who isn’t one to miss an opportunity to give a hot take or two on the ESPN show. 

“All I gotta say is she’s lucky this UConn team isn’t healthy, and that’s a true statement,” Qerim said in a clip of the show that made its way around X. 

As the discussion continued, the proud UConn alumna took another shot at her alma mater’s upcoming opponent. 

“If Paige Bueckers didn’t basically miss two seasons, I don’t know if we’d be talking about Caitlin Clark the way we are right now. That’s facts, Stephen A.,” she said. 

Molly Qerim had thoughts about Caitlin Clark taking on UConn.

It’s hard to argue that Bueckers’ injury issues have impacted her, but she has turned right back into a star this season, and she has been one of the central figures of the NCAA Tournament this year. 

UConn has dealt with a few injuries this season, including season-ending ones to Azzi Fudd and Aubrey Griffin. 

Caitlin Clark drives to the basket during Iowa’s Elite Eight win over LSU. AP
UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards, Aubrey Griffin, Nika Muhl and Paige Bueckers celebrate after a win over Georgetown earlier in the season. AP

But Clark’s historic 2023-24 season and run in the NCAA Tournament has helped elevate women’s basketball to heights never seen before. 

Qerim’s take wasn’t very well received on social media, and one user on X wrote, “This is some generational hating right here. Shame on Molly.” 

The showdown between UConn and Iowa will take place on Friday night at 9:30 p.m. Eastern, with the winner advancing to the national title game to face the winner of the South Carolina-NC State battle. 

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