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Ex-Iowa coach Lisa Bluder ‘would love to have seen’ Caitlin Clark at Olympics: ‘The hardest team to make’

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Former Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder was among the many who were disappointed to learn that Caitlin Clark will not be headed to Paris next month with USA Basketball’s national team. 

But her concern isn’t for the women’s team in the Olympics this year but rather what Clark’s absence will mean for the team competing in Los Angeles in 2028.

Head coach Lisa Bluder of the Iowa Hawkeyes is seen during the game against South Carolina during the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal game at American Airlines Center on March 31, 2023, in Dallas. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Speaking with the Washington Post, Bluder said she knows how difficult it is to make the national team, but she "would love to have seen" the Indiana Fever rookie phenom represent the U.S. in Paris.


"She's represented USA Basketball many times. She's won three gold medals. But we have to remember, it is the hardest team to make anywhere. It is the hardest team to make. And the 12 women that they have chosen are exceptional women," she said. 

"The only ‘but’ I have is: What about the future? Because this team has not lost a game since 1992," Bluder added. "So, they're a great group. They're experienced. There's no doubt we're going to win another gold medal in Paris. But what about the fact that in four years we're going to be playing in L.A.? How are we preparing for that? That would be my only ‘but.’"

Bluder suggested it might have been different if Clark had at least a full year in the WNBA, but the "silver lining" will be the time off she’ll now have after beginning her pro career