"I wasn’t even supposed to be guarding Caitlin [Clark]": Raven Johnson details Dawn Staley's mastermind strategy for 2024 NCAA final vs. Iowa

NCAA Womens Basketball: Final Four National Championship-Iowa vs South Carolina
Raven Johnson details Dawn Staley's mastermind strategy for 2024 NCAA final vs. Iowa

Raven Johnson was locked in guarding Caitlin Clark in the final match of the NCAA National Championship. She stole the ball twice from Clark and converted them into two fastbreak baskets for South Carolina.

However, in the cover story by "The Players' Tribune," Johnson said that she was not supposed to be the one guarding Clark.

"Actually, the night before the championship, I wasn’t even supposed to be guarding Caitlin. Of course, I wanted the matchup. So, I was so mad. I’m asking Coach Staley, 'Why not?' She’s telling me to calm down, explaining how she’s trying to protect me from foul trouble. Fast forward, we’re in the second quarter, and Caitlin was hot."

Johnson also talked about the famous steal that shifted the game's momentum.

"I remember going into our huddle telling Coach Khadijah to put me on her. She did, and the second she bounced the ball in my face, I knew it was mine," said Raven Johnson. "And that steal, you could feel the momentum in the building shift. Seeing how hype the girls were after, it was exactly what we needed."

Raven Johnson gives credit to all her teammates

Raven Johnson took her moment to appreciate and give credit to all her teammates.

"Paopao, that’s our sniper. She got ice in her veins, okay. And she uses her experience to make us all better. She was a great addition to our team. Breezy, my roomie on the road. She’s a strong leader for us, she knows what it takes to win and she keeps us calm when we get a little rattled."

In the story, she singled out each teammate and said how valuable they were to the team and shared some moments with them.

"Kamilla and I go back to our AAU days. We used to talk on a translator app because she only spoke Portuguese. She’s grown so much in her game, and her dominance held us together throughout the season. I love all of my teammates, these are my sisters for life."

Stories like these make a player who they are, and Raven Johnson has shown how she overcame her adversities to bounce back stronger. She got her revenge and won the national championship for South Carolina.

Where do you see this going forward with Raven Johnson and the South Carolina Gamecocks?

What could Alabama basketball's 2024-25 starting lineup look like? Find out here

App download animated image Get the free App now