Paul Pierce on Caitlin Clark Photo credit: Undisputed

Caitlin Clark led top-seeded Iowa over LSU in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament Monday night and Paul Pierce never saw it coming.

Clark filled the stat sheet with 41 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds in the Hawkeyes’ 94-87 win to knock defending national champion LSU out of the tournament and advance to the Final Four. And Tuesday morning on FS1’s Undisputed, Paul Pierce admitted he was surprised to see Clark, who is arguably the best women’s college basketball in NCAA history, get the win because of race.

“We saw a white girl in Iowa do it to a bunch of Black girls…That gained my respect,” Pierce told Keyshawn Johnson and Skip Bayless. “That gained my respect! That’s like, oh she didn’t do this to some other little white girls that were over in Colorado or wherever. She did it to some girls from LSU who we thought were some dogs!”

More importantly, the LSU Tigers were “defending champs” as Bayless aptly noted.

“Defending champs,” Pierce concurred before continuing to his clumsy attempt at complimenting Clark and Iowa. “And put ‘em on their knee and spanked them. I didn’t expect that.”

“Spanked ‘em,” Bayless agreed.

Maybe Pierce was attempting to say Caitlin Clark vs LSU’s Angel Reese is a modern-day version of Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson, but if so, he framed it in a bizarre way. Perhaps stranger than boiling Monday night’s Elite Eight matchup between Iowa and LSU down to race was the fact that Pierce seemed surprised to learn Clark and the Hawkeyes were capable of winning.

This is Caitlin Clark we’re talking about. The college player who many experts believe “needs” to win a championship to cement her legacy. The NCAA’s all-time leading scorer who is far from being a new phenomenon in her fourth college basketball season. Yet Pierce was just surprised to see a “white girl in Iowa do it to a bunch of Black girls.” Which was equally dismissive to Reese and LSU, because there should be no shame in losing to a great player and great team.

Part of the problem might be that Undisputed just started covering Clark yesterday. According to Awful Announcing’s closed captioning search, Clark didn’t get one mention on Undisputed last week, while Dak Prescott’s name was broached 64 times.

And when they finally started talking about Clark this week, Pierce’s commentary was egregious. Pierce, who touted women’s college basketball on his podcast with Kevin Garnett, seemed oblivious to the fact that Iowa was the No. 1 seed in their region and the betting favorite against LSU, instead treating it as if the defending champs were just picked off by a double-digit seed.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to