Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) speaks with reporters in the locker room after beating LSU in the Elite 8round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament between Iowa and LSU at MVP Arena, Monday, April 1, 2024 in Albany, N.Y. Credit: The Des Moines Register

All things considered, the most highly anticipated women’s basketball game in recent memory — and perhaps ever — lived up to the hype, with Caitlin Clark leading Iowa to a 94-87 victory over defending national champion LSU in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on Monday.

The same, however, can’t be said about the game’s host site, Albany, New York, with several reporters taking to social media to express frustration regarding their experiences covering the game at MVP Arena.

Criticisms of the Albany experience included media members being asked to leave the arena shortly after midnight, limited availability for the media room and a lack of access to the court for pregame and postgame stand-up shots. KWWL TV reporter Mark Woodley compared the experience to “Shawshank” stating, “shocked we didn’t have designated windows to use the bathroom.”

“Been covering NCAA tournaments for over 2 decades now and have never been treated as poorly as we were at this site,” Woodley wrote.

The criticism of Albany wasn’t limited to the arena’s handling of the media, as ESPN’ Rebecca Lobo also took a shot at the city’s entertainment options — or lack thereof — during the game’s broadcast.

“By the way, good luck finding something to do in Albany,” Lobo said with a laugh during the game’s broadcast after play-by-play announce Ryan Ruocco noted that Caitlin Clark had told her family “just go find something to do in Albany. I’m staying in my room and waiting for the game.”

Obviously, there’s a big difference between an arena — whether it be the venue’s staff or NCAA officials — preventing media members from performing their job duties and a city not having enough fun things to do in the eyes of a TV analyst. Altogether, however, it’s hard to find a media member who has a good thing to say about their experience in New York’s capital — not that it prevented Hawkeyes fans from having a heckuva time.

[Mark Woodley on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.