Iowa guard Caitlin Clark became the star of women’s college basketball at the NCAA tournament. The Hawkeyes’ 6-foot leader became known as the nation’s deadliest shooter when she helped lead Iowa to good looks before falling to UConn.
The young Iowa star was already gaining popularity with his game throughout the season, but it really took off in the round of 16 in Iowa’s 86-72 win over Kentucky. Clark finished with 35 points on 13 of 21 shots from the field, seven rebounds and six assists. Her six three-pointers are the all-time most by a Hawkeye in an NCAA tournament. Clark’s 35 points are the most Hawkeye points in an NCAA tournament. Tangela Smith held the previous record with 32 points against UMass in the 1998 tournament.
After that record breaking performance, she caught the eye of WNBA legend Sue Bird, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas and several others, but no one is more famous than NBA superstar Kevin Durant.
The WSlam published a summary of Iowa’s victory and Durant commented “She’s in the league right now.”
The NCAA women’s basketball Twitter account posted an eight-minute interview with Clark on Friday describing all aspects of the game. From Clark’s victory over the Wildcats in the first half to a headache in the second. The full interview is integrated below.
The best moments of the tournament ??@IowaWBB Caitlin Clark presents her 35-point game against Kentucky in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament with @autumnjohnsontv#ncaaW pic.twitter.com/NCKiZMkFC9
– NCAA Women’s Basketball (@ncaawbb) June 25, 2021
“I’m so impressed with her mental maturity. To get into a situation where you’ve been identified as one of the best freshmen in the country, second-team All-American, she doesn’t let herself go to the lead,” Bluder said. “She’s been dealing with it all and it can be a lot to deal with. She lives for those kinds of experiences. She’s better on a big stage. She has it now and she’s enjoying it.”
In his historic freshman season, Clark averaged 26.6 points, 7.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game. she put Iowa’s freshman record with 26.6 points per game (men or women), recorded the fourth highest points per game in a single season in Iowa history (men or women) and was the 2020-21 NCAA Division I leading scorer (men or women)). She is the only Division I student-athlete to have recorded 12 30-point games this season – the most by an NCAA Division I freshman since 2000.
Clark was named Naismith Player of the Year semifinalist, Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year finalist, season-ending Dawn Staley finalist, and was the All-American Second Team by The Associated Press.
After dominating the U-19 team trials, superstar Hawkeye was selected for the U-19 World Cup squad. Clark is a two-time gold medalist as a member of Team USA after winning the 2017 FIBA U16 Americas Tournament and the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup tournament.
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