Caitlin Clark Getty Iowa Hawkeyes Women's Basketball 2023
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After an NCAA Tournament dominated by historic upsets, unparalleled drama and the record-breaking heroics of Caitlin Clark, the the refereeing became an unfortunate headline the championship game, an eventual 102-85 win for LSU.

Clark herself was at the center of the drama. The Iowa superstar picked up a technical foul on this seemingly innocuous action late in the third quarter:

What made this call especially troubling -- especially for Iowa -- was that technical fouls also come with a personal foul, and it was the fourth personal foul of the game for Clark, one shy of disqualification. She sat out until the end of the quarter and ended up finishing the game without fouling out, but the technical cost her team two points via Alexis Morris free throws.

Iowa coach Lisa Bluder didn't directly criticize the officiating, but she did call the situation frustrating.

"I didn't even feel like I could talk to they wouldn't even listen you know? That's what's frustrating is that there wasn't even a conversation that could be had. But you know when your two seniors have to sit on the bench...I get it but I don't know those two women's didn't deserve that…I just don't think so….and Caitlin getting a T? I don't know it's too bad," Bluder said.

Several women's college basketball greats did not seem to agree with the referees' calls.

Kramer Robertson, son of LSU coach Kim Mulkey and a second baseman in the St. Louis  Cardinals' organization, was also unimpressed.

Still, compare Clark's technical to Mulkey going uncalled for making contact with a referee.

Clark, of course, wasn't the only star on the wrong end of some tough calls. LSU's Angel Reese -- who went on to win Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament -- got hit with two early fouls, the second of which was especially questionable at best.

Reese did not play the rest of the first quarter following that foul and sat for the entire second quarter as well.

Throughout the game, there were plenty of other impactful calls that went awry or were simply missed. Referees reviewed post moves by both Reese and Monika Czinano for potential forceful use of an elbow. Both could have easily been offensive fouls, but the call on the floor can't be overruled via replay, and neither player received a flagrant foul, which actually was probably the right decision. Czinano, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, dealt with foul trouble early and often and ultimately fouled out, as did fellow Hawkeyes' frontcourt starter McKenna Warnock.

The overall numbers ended up relatively even: Iowa was called for 19 fouls and LSU 18, and the Tigers took one more free throw than the Hawkeyes (21-20). Despite the high-scoring final, the game was choppy for long stretches, and the officiating made itself a major storyline on the sport's biggest stage.