The Daily Iowan unanimously names Caitlin Clark 2021-22 Female Athlete of the Year

The reigning Big Ten Women’s Basketball Player of the Year led the nation in both points and assists.


Grace Smith

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark shoots a 3-pointer during a First Round NCAA women’s basketball tournament game against No. 2 Iowa and No. 15 Illinois State in sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, March 18, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Redbirds, 98-58.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

Iowa women’s basketball sophomore point guard Caitlin Clark has another accolade to add to her seemingly endless award shelf.

The 2022 Big Ten Player of the Year unanimously won The Daily Iowan’s 2021-22 Female Athlete of the Year award. Clark received the honor for the second season in a row — each year of her Hawkeye career.

And for good reason.

After stepping into the national spotlight during her freshman season in 2020-21, Clark continued her dominance in 2021-22.

In two years for the Black and Gold, Clark has cemented her name in the national history books. On Jan. 15, Clark broke the Iowa and Big Ten single-game assist record with 18 against Penn State. On Jan. 2, she was the fastest-ever player to reach 1,500 career points, doing so in 56 games — an average of 26.7 points per game.

Clark wrote her name at the top of the NCAA Division I women’s basketball 2022 stat books, becoming the first player in history to lead the nation with 27 points and eight assists per game. She also led the country with 11 30-plus point games and 863 total points — 67 ahead of second-place Dyaisha Fair of Buffalo.

Clark made her presence known on the road, breaking Michigan’s Crisler Center scoring record with a career-high 46 points. She also set Carver-Hawkeye Arena’s scoring record in 2022 with 44 points.

Clark racked up five triple-doubles in her sophomore season and became the only Division I women’s or men’s basketball player in history to record two consecutive 30-point triple-doubles. Throughout the NBA and WNBA, only Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Luka Dončić and Giannis Antetokounmpo have achieved the feat.

Along with receiving the Big Ten Player of the Year award, Clark also became the first two-time winner of the Dawn Staley Award since its inception in 2017. The Dawn Staley award recognizes the nation’s best guard — one who also has exquisite ball-handling, scoring, and ability to distribute the basketball.

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In 2022, Clark also became the first Big Ten player to win the Nancy Lieberman award — an honor given to the nation’s top point guard.

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark celebrates during a women’s basketball game between No. 21 Iowa and No. 6 Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. The Hawkeyes became regular season Big Ten co-Champions after defeating the Wolverines, 104-80.  (Grace Smith)

After leading the Hawkeye women’s basketball team to a regular-season title, she scored 41 points (and attempted to dislodge a stuck basketball) in Iowa’s Big Ten Tournament semifinal victory over Nebraska for a championship berth.

Clark averaged 26 points and 9.3 rebounds throughout the three-game series, earning the Big Ten Tournament MVP honor in Iowa’s historic season.

Although she didn’t win a national women’s basketball award, she was on multiple shortlists. She was a top-4 finalist for Wooden Award, Naismith Award, and Wade Trophy. She was a Consensus first-team All-American and unanimous first-team All-Big Ten honoree.

Clark has earned countless awards before she’s turned 21. The incoming junior out of West Des Moines will return for her third year with the Hawkeyes this winter, and it looks like there’s no slowing down.

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