Sue Bird SHOCKS Iowa Hawkeyes with surprise visit before Elite 8 win. Clark’s reaction was PRICELESS. Video in comment.

Caitlin Clark credited Sue Bird’s advice with helping the Iowa Hawkeyes advance to the Final Four.

Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes got an epic surprise during the latest leg of their NCAA Tournament run.

WNBA legend Sue Bird visited Clark and her teammates at practice ahead of their Elite Eight matchup against the Louisville Cardinals Sunday.

The newly retired Seattle Storm point guard — who won four WNBA championships and earned 13 All-Star nods before calling it quits — spoke to the Hawkeyes from the floor at Climate Pledge Arena, where she played her final professional season.

Sue Bird SHOCKS Caitlin Clark & Iowa Hawkeyes With Surprise Visit Before Elite 8 Win! #marchmadness - YouTube

She offered them some sage advice, which Clark credited with helping Iowa power its way to its first Final Four appearance in 30 years.

“What she preached is like, ‘Things are going to be hard in this game,’” Clark recalled after Iowa’s 97-83 win over Louisville. “‘There’s always hard moments. Not everything’s going to go your way.’”

That sentiment rang true early for the Hawkeyes, who found themselves down 8-0 early against the Cardinals and their star, Hailey Van Lith. But, as Clark noted, Iowa has “a group that is old enough to understand it’s not going to bother us.”

Caitlin Clark celebrates making a three-pointer.

The Hawkeyes bounced back, shifting their defense and maintaining their composure to chip away at Louisville’s early lead. By the end of the first quarter, Iowa claimed its first lead.

And despite an impressive offensive performance from Van Lith, the Hawkeyes never relented from there.

“We came out and changed our defense and really from there I thought we played really, really good basketball,” Clark said.

“But all we kept thinking was next play, and that’s what Sue said in our circle today — is you just got to move on to the next play. So I think that just speaks to the toughness of our team.”

Of course, Clark’s historic 40-point triple-double — the first ever in either the men’s or women’s NCAA Tournament — didn’t hurt Iowa’s efforts. She scored a whopping 41 points on 57.9% shooting from the field and 8-of-14 from beyond the arc to lead all scorers on the night.

Caitlin Clark snags the game ball after dropping a 40-point triple-double in the Elite Eight.

And with 12 assists to boot, the West Des Moines, Iowa, native had a hand in 70 of her team’s points — the most from a single player in an NCAA Tournament game since the turn of the century, per ESPN Stats & Info — which amounted to 72.2% of their total team offense.

Sue Bird (left) and Caitlin Clark.

Clark will look to have another other-worldly performance on Friday, as her Hawkeyes face the No. 1 overall seed South Carolina Gamecocks at the Final Four in Dallas.

Should she and Iowa upset the reigning champions and the reigning National Player of the Year in the semifinal, the Hawkeyes will advance to their first-ever national championship game in program history.

But just making it to Dallas is surreal for Clark, who recalls setting the goal of a Final Four appearance with head coach Lisa Bluder way back when she first committed to join the Hawkeyes.

“A lot of people told me it would never happen when I came to the University of Iowa,” Clark said. “But she [Bluder] believed in me, and that was really all that mattered.

And we made our locker room believe and when you dream and work really hard, a lot of really cool things can happen.”

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