Gabbie Marshall vs Flau’Jae Johnson – Amid Focus on Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark, 2 March Madness Stars Steal the Show in Elite 8

Published 04/02/2024, 9:04 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Their fate was obvious and inevitable from the start as their performances throughout the season said it all. The Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the defending champions, the LSU Tigers, 94-87 in yesterday’s Elite 8 game in the Albany 2 Region. Iowa got away with the shots while the Tigers kept pouncing to exhaustion. The game already carried huge significance as the two teams were last year’s finalists and multiple moments from the game remain fresh in everyone’s minds, including Angel Reese taunting Caitlin Clark. Now, while Clark and Reese had everyone’s attention, a lot was going on between Gabbie Marshall and Flau’jae Johnson that didn’t leave the radar.

Besides Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark, the thrilling matchup between the Hawkeyes and the Tigers showcased two other players taking center stage amidst the fierce battle for the Final Four. Bringing into the action were Flau’jae Johnson and Gabbie Marshall, who resiliently defended their teams and added an extra kick to the game.

This season, Flau’jae has turned out to be a trailblazing player, and her performance in this game didn’t leave any stone unturned. Although being countered by Kate Martin on repeat, Flau’jae didn’t lose her dominance. She chased Martin down the court and delivered a stunning block. Johnson dropped an impressive 23-point game, shooting 10-18 from the field.

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Her tenacious attitude helped her grab 6 rebounds while she battled for position under the basket and secured key possessions for the team. Her effectiveness on the court was prominent as she set up opportunities for her team to score more. Although an energetic player, Johnson was being guarded by Gabbie Marshall, who took on this challenging task.

Marshall only made 1 shot on the night from deep, finishing with 3 points. However, she did a little bit of everything. She had 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. Her importance to the team shines with the number of minutes she played. Along with superstar Caitlin Clark, Marshall stayed on the court the entire time.

Marshall’s efficiency came into play when she grabbed the ball while Johnson was making a pass to her teammate. As a result, the moment transformed into a turnover as the ball landed in Marshall’s hands. It was in the initial minutes of the game when Marshal intervened and made a key pass to Hannah Stuelke, who made an easy layup. Moreover, her marksmanship passed the test as she laid a perfect 3-point shot from a pass beyond the arc, adding crucial points to the team’s score.

Now, with the game being through, fans have taken over the internet, praising the unsung hero of the game, Gabbie Marshall with a quote from her teammate Kate Martin doing rounds on social media, which says, “I think it’s because in Gabbie’s five years, you’ve seen her go through some lulls, but you’ve seen her come out on top every single time. She’s somebody that you want to root for because she never gives up. Even I get super-hyped whenever she makes a 3 because you get to see that passion that she plays with and that joy. It’s so contagious. It’s so fun.”

With the sporty tussle during the game, both the players performed with composure. As to taking the game to another level, Caitlin Clark broke a record in this one too!

Caitlin Clark boosting another entry

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Shining throughout the season, Caitlin Clark kept knocking records down like pinballs. Her perfection in shooting excels many legendary players. Breaking records has become a routine for Clark and it became convenient for her to forget to remember a few in her journey towards success.

In the Elite 8 showdown with the Tigers, Clark managed to make a few historic marks. It happened in the closing 5 minutes of the third quarter when Clark made a deep three which was her career’s 538th 3-point shot, extending the team’s lead to 61-52 when she became the all-time Division I leader in career threes made.

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With this feat, she has now surpassed former Oklahoma star Taylor Robertson, who set the record in the course of her five seasons from 2018 to 2023. To simply put, Robertson made 537th 3-pointers in 151 career games, while Clark did it in her 137th career game.

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Although both teams wished for this face-off to come later in the tournament, they played with the pressure of making it to the Final Four over their heads. Nonetheless, it was a much-awaited and monumental game that was highly cheered by the fans to have experienced such a galactic win with sheer determination on the court.

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Written by:

Dimple Gupta

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Dimple Gupta is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Dimple is adept at in-depth coverage and brings insightful coverage with her captive chronicles. Her articles often discuss trade details, NIL deals, and other monetary aspects.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth