Donovan Mitchell honors U of U student killed on campus, says ‘women have to be protected more’

SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell honored a slain University of Utah student during Wednesday night’s game against the Houston Rockets.

Lauren McCluskey, a 21-year-old U of U student and standout on the track team, was shot and killed on campus Monday night by a man who later took his own life in downtown Salt Lake City.

Mitchell wore McCluskey’s name on his shoes during Wednesday night’s game, which he dedicated to her.

The Jazz star scored 38 points in the 100-89 win against the Rockets.

Mitchell was asked after the game why he felt inspired to show his solidarity, and he said that while he has no connection to the McCluskey family he was deeply touched by the tragedy.

“It was a scary feeling to be able to be close…. and it’s just so sad,” Mitchell said. “…she was on the phone with her mom when she got shot… her mom was having a normal conversation, then next thing you know she hears  ‘No, no, no!’ and that’s it.”

Mitchell went on to reference reports McCluskey was harassed by her killer for weeks leading up to her death and said that as a society we need to do more to keep women safe.

“I have a little sister, in today’s world women have to be protected more, you know, I have a little sister, my mom raised me: So women have to be protected more, and she was being harassed for two straight weeks… she was defenseless, couldn’t do anything about it.”

The Jazz star said he simply wanted to show his support and express his condolences for Lauren’s family and her teammates.

“I just wanted to be able to just dedicate this game to her and to her family,” he said. “I don’t know her personally. I don’t know her family at all. Just having a little sister, this one really hit home to me. And my condolences to the school, to the track and field team, and to her family.”

Teams at the University of Utah are wearing gear bearing special logos this week in honor of McCluskey.