Caitlin Clark gets ultimate praise from Iowa women’s basketball rival after latest feat

Iowa women’s basketball star Caitlin Clark scored 44 points in an 80-76 win over No. 8 Virginia Tech, leading opposing head coach Kenny Brooks and his players to lavish powerful praise upon one of the emerging faces of the sport.

Clark admitted after the game that she didn’t think she played up to her standards. She went 13-for-31 shooting and missed four free throws. Still, breaking the 40-point threshold for the ninth time in her college career and playing every minute was a better off-performance than many competitors could achieve on their best days.

“I love my [players], but sometimes you’re playing checkers and she’s playing chess,” Brooks said via ESPN. “She’s that good. … She is a generational player, and we are going to watch this young lady play for a very long time and she is going to play at a very high level.”

Added Virginia Tech guard Georgia Amoore: “She’s been gifted by every single god you can imagine.”

More than 15,000 fans visited the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, to watch the clash of top-10 teams. That’s more than the number of people who attended the Charlotte Hornets NBA game at the arena one night before.

The turnout reflected the surging popularity of women’s basketball after record-breaking viewership for the last NCAA Tournament. It also underlined the specific love Clark is getting from around the country as her long-range shooting prowess sparks interest well beyond the Hawkeyes’ fan base.

Caitlin Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes high-fives fans before the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Caitlin Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes high-fives fans before the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies. 
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“It’s incredible, honestly,” said Clark, who scored nine of her team’s final 12 points. “It seems like there are a lot of people that are just fans of our game, whether it is Iowa fans or Virginia Tech fans or just people that are here to support women’s basketball.

“And that is why this game was put on is because they understand how great women’s basketball is and how much it is growing.”

Iowa’s victory puts it in position to run the table in non-conference play. Virginia Tech, coming off a Final Four run, was the lone ranked opponent on its schedule before Big Ten action begins.

“I feel like this is a really good early-season win for us,” head coach Lisa Bluder told reporters. “We shot the ball so poorly, which is so uncharacteristic of us. But we got to the free throw line, and we did a good job on the boards.”

The Hawkeyes will likely leapfrog LSU in the next AP top-25 poll after the Tigers were upset by Colorado. Clark’s team might also surpass UConn, which crushed Dayton this week but has yet to face a ranked squad.

The trio of Iowa, LSU, and UConn provides immense star power to this NCAA campaign, with Clark, Angel Reese, and Paige Bueckers each boasting more than 700,000 Instagram followers as new fans eagerly follow their every move. Players are still getting used to the spotlight.

“It’s very hard to wrap my head around the environments we get to play in,” Clark said. “It’s incredible honestly.”

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