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Jolette Law: ‘Iowa is a place to grow, and I grew a lot when I was there’
Playing under C. Vivian Stringer at Iowa (1986-90), she never reached a Final Four. Now as an assistant at South Carolina, she hopes to push the Gamecocks to a title repeat.
DALLAS — As a player, Jolette Law never reached a Final Four.
Still, she considers her time at the University of Iowa as “the best four years of my life.
“They say Iowa is a place to grow, and I grew a lot when I was there,” she said.
In her sixth year as assistant coach at South Carolina, Law’s worlds collide Friday when the top-ranked Gamecocks (36-0) face No. 3 Iowa (30-6) in the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four.
Tipoff is 8:30 p.m. (ESPN).
In an Iowa playing career that concluded in 1990, Law helped C. Vivian Stringer’s teams to four Big Ten titles and a four-year record of 105-18, earning first-team all-Big Ten status twice.
“I have to say, Jolette Law ... I had to tease her (Wednesday) night to make sure she had her black and gold underneath her Gamecocks (wardrobe),” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said.
Law served as head coach at Illinois from 2007 through 2012, posting a record of 69-93 with a pair of WNIT appearances. She has spent most of her career as an assistant, including 12 years under Stringer at Rutgers.
“Coach Stringer called to congratulate us, and (South Carolina head coach) Dawn (Staley) and I sang happy birthday to her,” Law said.
Asked about Iowa phenom Caitlin Clark, Law said:
“A phenomenal player. She is special. She is doing stuff that most women can’t do ... and most men. She is very gifted.”
The Iowa-South Carolina victor faces Virginia Tech or LSU for the national championship at 2:30 Sunday afternoon (ABC).
Bluder also heard from Stringer, who coached Iowa’s first Final Four team in 1993, after the Hawkeyes advanced.
“It wasn't a text, it was a voice message, which tells you the age of both of us,” Bluder said. “Who leaves voice messages anymore?
“But I love voice messages because you can hear the enthusiasm in their voice versus reading it on a text, and she definitely had a lot of enthusiasm.”
Stringer retired at Rutgers following last season.
Don’t take her too seriously
Toward the end of her acceptance speech Wednesday for the Naismith Award, Caitlin Clark said the following:
“ ... I have a few more years, too.”
Wait, does this mean that Clark — a junior who could use her bonus fifth year of eligibility in 2024-25 — will do so?
“I heard that that’s what I said, and it kind of slipped out,” Clark said Thursday.
“I wasn’t trying for that to be indicative of my plans.”
Maybe she’ll play four years at Iowa. Maybe she’ll play five. She said that she’ll probably decide sometime next season.
“It’s something I think about. It’s something that is going to be a very hard decision for me,” she said.
Perfectionism pays off
Iowa reserve post Sharon Goodman was honored Wednesday with the Elite 90 Award, recognizing the highest GPA among all competing athletes.
Goodman owns a 4.0 GPA in health studies. She may transition into a nursing career.
“Sometimes I stress when there’s a lot to do,” she said. “I’m a perfectionist, and sometimes that’s not a good thing. With my studies, it is.”
Beal ‘wanted to get away’
South Carolina’s Brea Beal grew up in Rock Island, Ill., a mere hour away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“Iowa was one of the first teams to recruit me, in eighth grade,” Beal said. “But when it came to decide, distance was a good thing for me. I wanted to get away (from home).”
Beal chose South Carolina, and it has worked out quite well. The Gamecocks won the national championship in 2022, and are favored to repeat.
She averages 6.5 points per game and was a Naismith defensive player of the year finalist. She’s a good bet to get the assignment on Clark.
“You can’t play her like you play everybody else,” Beal said. “I’m not used to picking somebody up full court. With her, that’s what you have to do.”