Last year, the University of Iowa star Caitlin Clark shocked the basketball world as a freshman when she led all players in scoring while helping the Hawkeyes achieve a 20-10 record and a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Iowa ended up falling in the Elite Eight against top-seeded UConn and newly-crowned AP Player of the Year Paige Bueckers, but Clark’s play was a big part of her team getting to that point — she averaged over 26 points per game during the tournament.
While this outstanding play surprised much of the nation, many Iowa residents were likely already familiar with Clark’s name. In high school at Dowling Catholic in West Des Moines, Iowa, Clark scored over 2000 career points and was named the Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year twice in her high school career.
Clark was recruited by college programs all over the nation, but she chose to stay close to home and pursue an NCAA championship with the Hawkeyes. This decision seemed to be a great one since Clark had one of the greatest freshman seasons in NCAA D1 history. And this year, Clark is looking even better.
Improving in almost every statistical category, Clark went from 26 points to 27 points per game, once again leading the nation in scoring. Clark is also averaging two more rebounds per game with a total of 8.1 and is averaging an extra assist per game with 7.9 per game this year. On top of all that, Clark has also slightly increased her steals, blocks, and free throw percentage. Clark may be filling up the stats sheet, but she’s doing it in style.
With step-back 40-foot shots from the logo, tough finesse finishes at the rim, and dynamic playmaking off the dribble, you would think Clark was Stephen Curry or Damian Lillard, but she’s already done some things prolific players like Curry or Lillard haven’t even done yet — like hitting multiple shots from 35+ feet in a single game. Ironically, Clark’s favorite player is Kevin Durant, who is arguably the greatest scorer in NBA history, and has even reached out to her and offered to give her advice whenever she needs it.
Clark’s electric, yet deadly, style of play has made her a standout among the crowd. With Bueckers dealing with a knee injury for a large portion of the season, there is a good chance Clark will be this years’ AP Player of the Year. The last time this level of dominance was seen at the college level was during the career of Oregon Ducks legend Sabrina Ionescu. Yet, even Ionescu never averaged as many points as Clark in her entire collegiate career and only matched Clark’s rebounds and assists numbers during her senior season.
Iowa women’s basketball finished their regular season with a 23-7 winning record and will look to be a competitive team during the 2022 March Madness Tournament. It’s been over 30 years since Iowa has made a Final Four appearance for women’s basketball, but that all can change with the phenomenal play of Clark. Make sure to check out the March Madness Tournament, starting on Wednesday, March 16.
Photo credit: Instagram