Geno Auriemma, UConn legends irate over controversial March Madness foul: ‘How to ruin the game’

The highly controversial offensive foul on Aaliyah Edwards during UConn’s 71-69 March Madness loss to Iowa in the Final Four on Friday night in Cleveland drew scorn from all corners of the basketball community.

But it was unsurprisingly harshest from those connected to the Huskies.

“There’s probably an illegal screen call that you could make on every single possession,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said after the game. “I just know that there were three or four of them called on us and I don’t think there were any called on them. So I guess we just gotta better at not setting illegal screens.”

UConn forced Iowa into back-to-back turnovers and had the ball, trailing 70-69, with 10 seconds left in the game after calling a timeout.

But Edwards was subsequently called for an illegal screen that she set on Iowa’s Gabbie Marshall, and it immediately brought on exasperated criticism.

UConn was then forced to foul Caitlin Clark, who hit 1 of 2 free throws before Iowa held on to win to advance to the NCAA Tournament championship game to face South Carolina.

Geno Auriemma speaks to the media after UConn’s Final Four loss to Iowa. Getty Images
Aaliyah Edwards was called for an illegal screen in the final seconds of UConn’s Final
Four loss to Iowa. Screengrab
Aaliyah Edwards was called for an illegal screen in the final seconds of UConn’s
Final Four loss to Iowa. Screengrab

“That’s a terrible call,” UConn legend and Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi, who won three consecutive national championships with the Huskies, said on the postgame show. “We always talk about, let the players decide the game, especially a benign call like that where you really didn’t affect the player. They still got over the screen, it’s just tough to end the game like that. … You want players to decide it, and we didn’t get that tonight, which was disappointing.”

Taurasi was watching the game with fellow UConn legends Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart on one of ESPN’s alternate broadcasts when the call was made.

“Wow, what an unfortunate time to call an offensive foul,” Taurasi said on the broadcast. “Just know how to ruin the game. Oh my god, that’s terrible.”

Stewart and Bird shared her sentiment.

“I want to see a shot, at least,” Bird, who won two national championships with UConn, said. “That’s tough.”

Stewart, who won four straight national championships with the program, could barely muster any words.

Diana Taurasi (R.) speak on ESPN’s postgame show after UConn’s Final Four loss to Iowa on April 5, 2024. Screengrab

She just shook her head with her eyebrows raised, asking “was she moving?”

Edwards said after the game that “from my point of view, it was pretty clean.”


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