Iowa women’s basketball freshman Caitlin Clark poised to make immediate impact

A five-star recruit out of high school, the Iowa native is a probable starter at point guard as a true freshman for the Hawkeyes.


Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s basketball freshman Caitlin Clark joined the team with high expectations on her shoulders.

Clark was a five-star recruit out of Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines and played internationally for Team USA, winning two gold medals in 2017 and 2019. She was also named the Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year her junior and senior year of high school.

She had many Division I offers, including Oregon and Iowa State, before picking Iowa. Her recruitment made national headlines and was a huge feat for the women’s basketball team, rounding out a solid freshman class with forward Shateah Wetering, center Sharon Goodman, and guard Lauren Jensen.

Jan Jensen, head of women’s basketball recruiting and associate head coach, said that although Clark got their attention by her skill, it was also important that her personality fits with the team.

“They have to be a good player, but just the way that they’re a good teammate,” Jensen said. “We really look for just really good people that are gonna do the right thing — and that’s the number one.”

Jensen added that they also look for resilient and competitive players, and Clark’s ‘swag’ on the court takes her skill to another level.

“She just does incredible things offensively with the ball.” Jensen said. “She’s got a tremendous range, tremendous control of the ball … She has a little bit more swag than the others, which is very good — you know, you can be nice, but you also have to have a little bit of like, ‘I got this.’”

And as the team’s only true point guard, Clark has a unique opportunity to start as a true freshman.

After point guard Kathleen Doyle graduated last season and joined the Indiana Fever in the WNBA, Clark became the only true point guard on the team. That, along with her skill in practice, made her a probable starter for the team this season.

“Arguably, Caitlin Clark’s coming in, and we need a point guard with the graduation of Kathleen Doyle — the Big Ten Player of the Year,” Jensen said. “She’s probably going to fill that role. We haven’t assigned that yet, but there’s a great need there.”

Clark is wearing the same number as Doyle, 22, this season and hopes to add to the legacy that Doyle already made.

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In her first few months with the team, Clark noted the sheer difference of play from high school to Division I basketball.

“It’s just so much more different in high school,” Clark said.  “There’s a lot more detail put into college basketball than high school or AAU and you got to be going every single day with those additional details or you’ll get burned.”

Clark said that while this is some pressure being the only true point guard, she knows that her teammates will be able to support her.

“[There’s pressure] in a way, because we just don’t have that point guard spot right now, so just kind of stepping into that and being the only true point guard,” Clark said. “But other guards do really well in handling the ball and bringing the ball up, so we’ll have plenty of options — but I’m sure there’s kind of that pressure on me, but I think if I just play my game and use my teammates around me and listen to the coaches it’ll be just fine.”