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Rebecca Lobo: Controversial Iowa-UConn call '100 percent was a foul'

NS_headshot_clearbackgroundby:Nick Schultz04/06/24

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Friday night’s Final Four thriller between Iowa and UConn was the talk of the basketball world. It wasn’t all because of Caitlin Clark and Paige Bueckers, though.

The officials were the biggest talking point.

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Aaliyah Edwards was called for an illegal screen with three seconds to play in the matchup as the Huskies went down the court trailing the Hawkeyes by one point. The call quickly made its way around social media as opinions rolled in across the country.

To ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo – who was the color analyst for the game – there wasn’t much of a question after watching the replay.

“Of course it’s tough to see, right, in the moment,” Lobo said Saturday on SportsCenter. “And at an end of a game, you want to see players with a missed shot or a made shot or a defensive stop deciding the game. When you watch the play back, it 100% was a foul. Aaliyah Edwards, not only with the wide base, she was moving. She hits Gabbie Marshall in a way that she can’t recover defensively.

“It’s unfortunate that this game came down to an off-the-ball foul call, but if you had that foul call at any other point in the game, you wouldn’t give it a second thought. You would not question it at all. I understand why people are because of the timing of it, but Jay, this 100% – by the rules of basketball – is an illegal screen. It’s a foul.”

Iowa ended up getting the ball back and Clark headed to the free throw line after a quick UConn foul. She made the first, but missed the second one. However, Sydney Affolter was there to get the offensive rebound and all but seal the victory for the Hawkeyes and send the program to the national championship for the second straight year.

But the officials continued to dominate the chatter about Friday’s slate of games, which could score major ratings victories for ESPN. But Bueckers kept things in perspective in the immediate aftermath when asked about the crucial call.

“I feel there were a lot of mistakes that I made that could have prevented that play from even being that big or causing the game,” Bueckers said. “So, you can look at one play and say, ‘Oh, that killed us, or that hurt us.’ But we should have done a better job, I should have done a better job of making sure we didn’t leave the game up to chance like that and leave the game up to one bad call going our way and that deciding it.

“Yeah, maybe that was a tough call for us, but I feel like I could have done a better job preventing that from even happening.”