In the Magnificence of Iowa’s Glow, Albany Catches Some Shade

As Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes watched the clock wind down on their Elite Eight victory in Albany, N.Y., on Monday night, a sarcastic aside suddenly brought unwanted attention to the host city.

With Iowa about to advance to the Final Four in the N.C.A.A. women’s basketball tournament, one of the ESPN announcers related an anecdote about how Clark, Iowa’s superstar shooting guard, had told her family to leave her alone leading up to the game and entertain themselves in New York’s capital city. The other commentator, Rebecca Lobo, laughed.

“Good luck finding something to do in Albany,” she said.

In a game that featured 36 fouls, those eight words may have landed the toughest blow. Almost 14,000 fans packed the MVP Arena on Monday, and even more traveled from around the country to crowd Albany’s hotels and restaurants over the weekend to see some of the greatest women’s college basketball teams compete.

Millions more tuned in to the broadcast. In short, all eyes were on Albany.

Lobo, a former W.N.B.A. star who played for the University of Connecticut, later apologized, writing on social media that she was familiar with Albany, having spent a number of weekends there to coach her children’s sports teams.

“No shade intended towards the capital city and the outstanding job they did hosting the regional,” she wrote.

But the damage was done. Defenders of Albany, including its mayor, Kathy Sheehan, flocked to social media to express outrage at the comment.

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