Caitlin Clark ready for emotional Iowa finale – ‘It’ll definitely hit me’

Caitlin Clark has described what she expects her final game in Iowa to be like when she takes to the court in the NCAA Tournament on Monday. Regardless of whether the Hawkeyes win or lose, she’ll never suit up at Carver-Hawkeye Arena again.

The 22-year-old will compete on Monday against West Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, which will be her last college game in Iowa City. She spent her entire college basketball career with the Hawkeyes and she is due to declare for the 2024 WNBA Draft at the end of the season. Therefore, she has one final opportunity to win March Madness and in the process deliver the Hawkeyes the national title trophy for the first time in their history.

Clark has delivered some special moments for her home fans this season, including record-breaking ones. She became the NCAA Division I’s all-time leading points scorer and has the single-season record for three-pointers made. Her historic Iowa career began at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 2020, a year marred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Four years later, she will play there as a college player for the last time, and the reality of that has yet to sink in. “Honestly, I feel like it hasn’t really hit me at all,” said Clark, as per the New York Post. “As a competitor, you don’t have the time for that emotion of this being the last of something. I think it’ll definitely hit me when the final buzzer sounds.”

Over the years, Clark has seen the audience numbers and overall buzz around women’s college basketball increase exponentially. Approximately 3.4 million people tuned in on Fox to watch the guard become the all-time NCAA points scorer against Ohio State on March 3, which was a higher number than the NBA debut of Victor Wembanyama.

Iowa sold out arenas throughout this season, and Clark’s scintillating performances have played a big role in that. But the player reflected on when the demand to watch the Hawkeyes and women’s basketball was not so high, and she is grateful to have seen things change. “I remember running out to our first sold-out crowd, and I got the chills, Clark added.

Clark is aiming for NCAA Tournament glory in her final season with Iowa
Clark is aiming for NCAA Tournament glory in her final season with Iowa 
Getty Images)

“Now I get to do that every single night. That’s never anything that has gotten old. It’s just crazy how much things have changed and how special what we’ve been able to do is.”

Iowa has enjoyed an impressive start to March Madness as it aims to overcome its finals defeat to LSU in 2023 and win it all. The Big Ten champions began their campaign by defeating Holy Cross 91-65 on Saturday.

Clark registered 27 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds as the Hawkeyes recovered from a slow start to dominate the game and claim the win. Post-game, she credited Holy Cross for how they played before expressing her happiness with how Iowa responded. “I thought [Holy Cross] made a lot of shots, I thought they competed really well. Gotta give credit to them,” she said post-game.

“I don’t know that we really played our best basketball. Obviously a little rust. I thought we could have just executed our offense a little better. They really compacted the paint, but I thought we responded really well. We always had an answer.”



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