Samuel L. Jackson Criticizes Media Coverage Of Caitlin Clark During National Championship

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

Samuel L. Jackson was one of the more than 20 million people who tuned in to the women’s national championship game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and Iowa Hawkeyes, but he didn’t appear to be too fond of the media coverage that followed. Here’s what he (and others) had to say about the game. 

South Carolina Defeats Iowa Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes (34-5) started the game with a 27-20 lead after the first quarter, but the Gamecocks (38-0) took control in the second quarter – heading into halftime with a 49-46 lead. South Carolina outscored Iowa 38-29 in the second half en route to an 87-75 victory. 

Source: Flickr/Gamecock Central

Tessa Johnson led the way for the Gamecocks, finishing the game with 19 points off 3 of 6 shooting from long range. Meanwhile, Caitlin Clark of Iowa led all scorers with 30 points, and also led her team with eight rebounds and five assists. 

Caitlin Clark’s Final Collegiate Game

It was an emotional game for Clark, who was playing in the final game of her legendary NCAA career after declaring for the WNBA Draft. She was hoping to win a title before making that transition but fell short in the title game for the second year in a row. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Given the circumstances, Clark received a lot of media attention prior to, during, and even after the game, as many fans and experts took to social media to honor the impact Clark had on the state of women’s sports – but not everyone was impressed. 

Samuel L. Jackson Criticizes Podcast Commentary

Samuel L. Jackson was critical of the women’s national championship game on several occasions – starting with his criticism of ESPN’s simulcast featuring WNBA legends Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi. Their format was similar to the NFL’s ManningCast. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Who TF @ESPN thought this podcast commentary is a good idea??!! I never knew I needed an ABC feed before!!!” Jackson wrote on X during the game. A lot of fans took to the comments section to agree with his take on the podcast-inspired broadcast. 

Criticizes ABC Broadcast For Talking About Clark

Unfortunately for Samuel L. Jackson, the ABC broadcast didn’t impress, either. Not long after switching the channel, Jackson took to X again – this time taking aim at the amount of media coverage Clark was getting. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“It’s okay to talk about the team that’s winning, too!!!” he wrote – implying that South Carolina wasn’t getting enough air time, despite being on the verge of making history as they looked to complete a perfect season. 

Shouts Out South Carolina For The Victory

But Jackson didn’t stop there. “THANK YOU COACH DAWN‼️‼️ THANK YOU SC BALLERS‼️‼️‼️

Ion know boutchall, but DAMN I needed that‼️‼️‼” he wrote in an X post. “Somewhere I hope Pearl Moore is smiling.” 

Source: Flickr/Gamecock Central

Pearl Moore (a native of South Carolina) is one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball history, finishing her college career with 4,061 points in an era when three-pointers didn’t exist. For context, Caitlin Clark finished with 3,951 points in her collegiate career. 

Post-Game Show Abruptly Cut Off For Some

The ABC broadcast continued to face backlash once the game ended. In some areas of the country, the broadcast cut directly to a commercial break once the clock hit zero – just as the panel was getting ready to talk about the game. 

Source: Tim Mossholder from Pexels via Canva

Some fans said that the broadcast cut off just two seconds after the game, and caused them to miss the trophy presentation – a tradition that never gets old in sports. “This p*ssed me off so bad,” one fan wrote on X, while another joked that they ‘can’t be late airing America’s Funniest Home Videos.’ 

Most-Watched Women’s College Basketball Game

Among the many storylines in this game, perhaps one of the most important was the viewership that it demanded. It peaked at more than 24 million viewers and finished with an average of 18.7 million viewers – making it the most-watched women’s college basketball game on record. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Viewership was up 89% from last year’s title game and 285% from the title game two years ago – showing just how far women’s college basketball has come. It’s also the most-watched basketball game (men’s or women’s, college or professional) since 2019, and the most-watched sporting event (excluding the Olympics and football) since 2019. 

Clark Goes Out On Top, Despite The Loss

If there’s one thing Caitlin Clark does well, it’s sell tickets. Well, she’s pretty good at scoring, too, but she can sell out an arena unlike any other women’s college basketball star to come before her – and she proved it in the final three games of her career. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Her Elite Eight victory against the LSU Tigers drew an average of 12.3 million viewers, breaking the record for the most-watched women’s college basketball game. She helped break that record again, with 14.2 million viewers tuning in to her Final Four game vs. the UCONN Huskies. The 18.7 million viewers in the title game were the cherry on top.

Clark Describes It As A ‘Special Year’

During her post-game press conference, Caitlin Clark took a moment to applaud what she and her teammates were able to accomplish, especially this season after a brutal loss in last year’s title game. Despite another title game loss, she described her final season as a special one. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

To be honest, this year was probably more special than last year,” she said. “”The teams we had to go through to get to this point, we won the Big Ten tournament. We lost two players that were three-year starters for our program, and to be back in this position and come out here and battle — I mean, South Carolina is so good.”

Dawn Staley Applauds Clark For Impact On Game

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley took a moment to applaud everything Caitlin Clark has done (and will continue to do) for women’s basketball and women’s sports. “I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for lifting up our sport,” she said during her post-game presser. 

Source: Flickr/Gamecock Central

“She carried a heavy load for our sport, and it just isn’t gonna stop here on the collegiate tour, but when she’s the number one pick in the WNBA draft she’s going to lift that league up as well,” she added. “So Caitlin Clark, if you’re out there you are one of the GOATS of our game and we appreciate you.”

South Carolina Makes History In Their Own Right

While all eyes were on Caitlin Clark, let’s not forget about the incredible season South Carolina had. Not only did they win their third national title (second in three years), but they completed the school’s first-ever undefeated season – finishing the year 38-0. 

Source: Flickr/Gamecock Central

She has now led the team to a 109-3 record over the past three seasons, including two national titles and four consecutive trips to the Final Four. She also became the first black coach (men’s or women’s) in Division I college basketball history to go undefeated and win three titles.

What’s Next For NCAAW And The WNBA? 

Women’s basketball is going to look a lot different next season. Caitlin Clark will enter the WNBA Draft and become one of the faces of the league – joining the likes of A’ja Wilson, Sabrina Ionescu, and Breanna Stewart. She’ll be drafted by the Indiana Fever with the No. 1 overall pick on April 15. 

Source: matimix via Canva

Meanwhile, women’s college basketball will be searching for a new star – though it probably already has it in Paige Bueckers. All eyes will be on her next season as she looks to make a title run of her own in preparation for her own trip to the WNBA. 

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Ryan Handson

Written by Ryan Handson

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