Caitlin Clark welcomed to first WNBA team just moments after declaring for draft

Indiana Fever icon Tamika Catchings welcomed Caitlin Clark to the organization immediately after the Iowa guard declared for the WNBA Draft. Indiana has the first-overall selection, and it’s a foregone conclusion that the team will take Clark, a generational talent who has smashed all kinds of NCAA records this year.

Clark officially declared for entering the WNBA Draft on social media Thursday afternoon, one day after achieving a triple-double to help the Hawkeyes ease past Minnesota, 108-60. In response to a passionate statement released by Clark to her beloved Hawkeyes nation, Catchings commented on the post: “Lets get it. Welcome to Indy, Caitlin Clark,” tagging the Fever on Twitter.

Catchings is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players ever. She led Tennessee to a national championship in 1998, was named an All-American during her four years in college from 1997 to 2001 and was the Naismith College Player of the Year in 2000.

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Catchings won a championship with the Fever, earning Finals MVP honors in 2012. That triumph stands as the lone title in organizational history.

Throughout her WNBA career, Catchings received Rookie of the Year honors in 2002 and the MVP in 2011, along with 12 WNBA All-Defensive first-time selections, ten all-star appearances, seven WNBA first-time selections, and five defensive Player of the Year awards. Her legacy within the organization was cemented after being named a member of the WNBA All-Decade team and on the league’s list of its top 20 players.

Last season, the Fever further honored Catchings by dedicating their “rebel edition” jersey to her “Basketball Chose Me” message from her Hall of Fame speech when she was inducted in 2020. She previously spoke about Clark and how to guard the deep-threat sharpshooter before last season’s March Madness tournament.

Caitlin Clark drives to the basket against Maryland
Clark is projected as the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft

“Don’t even let her touch the ball,” said Catchings. “Get her to give the ball up. So let her get the ball in the backcourt, let her get the ball, and then force her to give it up,” she continued. “But yeah, I don’t know. I think that you gotta figure out a way to get the ball out of hand, but this Joker is crossing half-court with two dribbles and pulling up. That’s kind of hard to stop.”

Clark has taken over college basketball by storm with the Hawkeyes after Catchings’ initial analysis. Her No. 22 jersey was affixed to the hardwood of Iowa’s court after she broke the college basketball women’s scoring record against Michigan. She scored 49 points in that game, setting a new career high and a single-game record for Iowa. Clark made 16-of-31 field goals, including 9-of-18 3-pointers.

The Iowa guard needs 18 more points to surpass “Pistol” Pete Maravich as the NCAA all-time scoring champion, as she currently has 3,650. Iowa has one game remaining on its regular-season schedule: against No. 2 ranked Ohio State, which defeated the Hawkeyes earlier this year and this week clinched the Big Ten regular-season title.

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