Caitlin Clark sees bright future for women sports after Iowa loss

Caitlin Clark sees bright future for women sports after Iowa loss

/ 07:32 PM April 08, 2024

Caitlin Clark Iowa

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark celebrates after making a three-point basket during the first half of the Final Four college basketball championship game against South Carolina in the women’s NCAA Tournament, Sunday, April 7, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Caitlin Clark believes the excitement surrounding her trail-blazing college basketball career heralds a bright future for women’s sports in the United States as she prepares to join the professional ranks of the WNBA.

The 22-year-old Iowa phenomenon signed off from collegiate sport on Sunday with a disappointing 87-75 defeat to South Carolina in the national championship game in Cleveland.

However Clark was able to see silver linings in the loss after her record-breaking performances this year helped smash attendance and television ratings records and drew global media attention.

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“When I think about women’s basketball going forward, obviously it’s going to continue to grow, whether it’s at the college level or the WNBA level,” Clark said of her legacy.

“Everybody sees the viewership numbers. When you’re given the opportunity, women’s sport thrives and that’s been the coolest part for me on this journey.

READ: Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and rise of women’s college basketball

“We started the season playing in front 55,000 people now we’re ending it in front of 15 million people on TV. It just continues to get better and better and that’s never going to stop.

“When you continue to give them the platform, things like this are just going to continue to happen.”

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Clark said she hoped the success of Iowa would encourage leagues and media companies to invest in women’s sport.

“No matter what sport it is, believe in them the same, invest in them the same, and things are going to thrive,” she said. “You see it with other sports. Continue to invest time money and resources for those people and give them the opportunities; I think that’s what’s going to drive women’s sports in future.”

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Clark said the fact that Iowa had brought new generations of fans to the sport was something she would cherish forever.

“People will remember the moments that they shared at one of our games or watching on TV, and how excited their daughter or son got about watching women’s basketball,” Clark said.

“That’s pretty cool; those are things that mean the most to me.”

READ: Caitlin Clark inspiring a young generation of players

Clark, who led the scoring with 30 points in Sunday’s final, admitted she expected to shed some tears as she processed her second straight defeat in the national title game.

“For me the emotions will probably hit me over the next couple of days; I don’t have much time to sit around and sulk and be upset,” Clark said. “And I don’t think that’s what I’m about either.

“Yeah I’m sad we lost this game, but I’m also so proud of my team-mates and our program. There’s a lot to be proud of.

“But there’s going to be tears. It is sad that this is all over, and this is the last time I put on an Iowa jersey.”

Clark’s achievements this season included beating Pete Maravich’s 54-year-old all-time college basketball scoring record, a mark that many felt was unbeatable.

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She is virtually guaranteed to be chosen with the No.1 pick in the WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever later this month, and could also join the US squad for the Paris Olympics.

For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.

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