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Everyone wants to see Caitlin Clark play

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Everyone wants to see Caitlin Clark play

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The 22-year-old American Caitlin Clark has broken the record for points scored by a male or female player in the history of Division I of the NCAA, the highest level of university basketball in the United States. In four years, Clark scored 3,685 points, breaking the women’s record that had stood since 1981 (Lynette Woodard’s 3,649 points) and also the men’s record, the 3,677 points scored by Pete Maravich between 1967 and 1970.

Clark plays for the Iowa Hawkeyes, the basketball team associated with the University of Iowa (the university of her home state) and has had a huge impact on US women’s basketball in recent years. The ease with which she can score baskets in any case, especially from afar (he also holds the record for most three-pointers scored in an NCAA season), has generated unprecedented attention on all the games he plays in, both home and away. A few days ago, when she broke the women’s college basketball points record by scoring 33 against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, there were 14,625 people at the Williams Arena in Minneapolis where the game was played, a lot even for a college basketball game, which he is also very popular in the United States.

Over the weekend in Iowa City, the city where Clark plays, a large Nike advertisement appeared, showing her shooting baskets from one side of the street to the other, with a writing that plays on the two meanings of the expression “long shot”. , Meaning what shot from afar e something unlikely.

Clark has become a national phenomenon only thanks to her exceptional way of playing, as spectacular as it is effective: at least for the moment, she is not a player who gets talked about for things that happen to her off the pitch. She stands 5 feet 10 inches tall and excels in virtually every major aspect of the game. The thing that is most often noticed is the ability to shoot from any position, often even from far behind the three-point line, a risk that few players take even at the highest levels. At the same time, however, she is also an excellent dribbler and ball carrier, and it is therefore very difficult for opponents to defend against her: you never know if she will try to penetrate the area towards the basket or if she will suddenly coordinate herself to shoot.

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But among her best qualities there is also the ability to put her teammates in a position to score, providing assists: he makes a lot of themof imaginative and technically very difficult, often to her teammates left free after the opponents have concentrated on her.

In her four-year university career she achieved 17 triple doubles, that is, games in which she managed to score at least 10 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, the three most important statistics in a basketball game: it is a fact that testifies to her being a very complete basketball player capable of excelling in different parts of the game, both offensive and defensive. In college basketball, both men’s and women’s, only Sabrina Ionescu did better with 26 triple doubles, who today plays in the Women’s NBA and recently challenged NBA champion Steph Curry in the first three-point shooting competition between a man and a woman woman at the All Star Game, the American professional basketball event dedicated exclusively to entertainment.

Before the 2023-24 season even began, the Iowa Hawkeyes broke the all-time crowd record in women’s basketball: 55,646 for their exhibition game against the DePaul Blue Demons at the Iowa Football Team’s stadium. The Carver-Hawkeye Arena, on the other hand, the arena where the Iowa Hawkeyes’ home games are usually played, has had nineteen sold-outs in its history: seventeen have arrived in the last three years, in which Caitlin Clark was there. On the road, however, the teams that hosted Iowa had an increase in attendance of over 150 percent compared to other games (i.e. two and a half times the usual audience), according to the US News Agency Associated Press. Ticket prices increased by 224 percent. The NCAA itself he defined this enormous attention and the rush to see the Iowa Hawkeyes games “the Caitlin Clark effect”.

Last year, tickets to the women’s NCAA finals cost three times as much as the men’s, a truly rare circumstance and motivated primarily by Clark’s presence. In fact, in 2023 Clark was instrumental in getting the Iowa Hawkeyes, a university team not traditionally very strong at a national level, to the NCAA final. In the semifinals he had scored 41 points (a college semifinal record, yet another from Clark), 8 assists and 6 rebounds in a 77-73 win over South Carolina. In the final, however, his 30 points were not enough to beat the LSU Tigers, who won 102-85. The Iowa Hawkeyes are doing very well this year too: in the regular season they won 25 games and lost only 4, and a large part of these results are always due to Clark.

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Last Thursday Clark announced her intention to turn professional and at the end of this season she will therefore be eligible for the draft, the event during which the teams of the Women’s NBA (the professional league) choose the new players entering the league , especially from college but also from abroad. Barring any big surprises, Clark will almost certainly be the first player chosen (in the draft each team can choose a player in turn): the first call of the 2024 draft will go to the Indiana Fever.

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