More than logo shots: Colorado women’s basketball scouts Iowa, junior guard Caitlin Clark ahead of Sweet 16 matchup

While the Hawkeye junior is widely known for her shots from the logo, she has another innate ability on the court — her passing.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark shoots a three point shot during the 2023 NCAA Sweet Sixteen press conferences and practices at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA on Thursday, March 24, 2023.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

SEATTLE — Colorado women’s basketball players are well aware of Iowa women’s basketball guard Caitlin Clark.

Or, more notably, her frequent logo shots.

“Obviously, there’s Caitlin Clark hitting half court shots,” senior center Quay Miller said of Colorado’s scout on Iowa.

The Buffaloes also notice the Hawkeye junior and national player of the year candidate’s conviction on the court — she’s never going to back down from a challenge.

“She’s just confident,” senior Jaylyn Sherrod said. “I mean, she put the work in, and she’s rightfully deserving of everything she got. You know, we respect everybody, so it’s not anything like that. She’s rightfully deserving. Anybody who can hit shots from the logo is a dangerous player. So, it’s just about what you can do and how to just make her as uncomfortable as possible.”

But Clark is more than just logo shots and confidence — no matter how much attention that gets her game on social media.

The West Des Moines product is also an above-average passer, averaging 8.5 assists per game along with her 27-point clip.

And it all started when she played soccer.

“I played soccer from a very young age, and I think understanding angles and reading angles is something that helps your passing,” Clark said. “I’m able to anticipate a lot of things and know where I need to get my teammates the ball and on time. So I think understanding angles and anticipation is just like the biggest two things that help me be a good passer.”

Clark was a forward (she didn’t like to play defense) from childhood until her sophomore year of high school. Because AAU basketball and high school soccer were both played in the spring, she had to choose one — even though she thought she could have been good enough to also be a Division I soccer player.

Head coach Lisa Bluder said Clark came into the Hawkeye program as an innate passer — and she only got better when she was around experienced college basketball players.

“When she came to college, it really opened up even more, because she had people that could catch her passes,” Bluder said. “Sometimes in high school, honestly, they came in so fast, so hard, people weren’t expecting them, they weren’t ready for them. AAU was better for her, and USA Basketball, of course, was better for her. But when she came to Iowa, and I think the first time she met Monika [Czinano] and scrimmaged with Monika, it opened up her eyes that [she] can really have an opportunity to pass the ball like she’s capable of.”

Czinano said she thought she was used to catching out-of-the-box passes with former Hawkeye Kathleen Doyle, who went on to be a 2020 WNBA Draft pick.

But even with Czinano’s experience, catching Clark’s passes was a whole new ballgame.

“I thought after doing it with Kathleen, I was like, ‘Oh, I got this down. I know how this works,’” Czinano said. “And then I got dunked in the head with a couple balls.”

Czinano specifically pointed to Iowa’s 2021 NCAA Tournament second-round game against Kentucky when Clark was a freshman. While Czinano was sprinting down the court to set her feet, she didn’t think the freshman at the time was going to lob the ball, quarterback-style, to her.

The next thing she knew, the ball was about a foot away from her head.

“From that moment on, I just knew I always had to be ready,” Czinano said. “But yeah, I have gotten hit in the head more times than I can count.”

Three years later, Clark and Czinano have gotten their passing game down to a science — racketing up Clark’s assist count in the process.

While Clark’s talents — whether it be logo shots or passing — are hard to defend, Colorado is focused on executing its game plan.

“It’s just about executing the scout,” Sherrod said. “When you have a player like Caitlin Clark, there’s not really one necessary thing you can do to stop her. And she’s experienced, she’s a vet, so she’s probably seen so many defenses thrown at her, but it’s just about executing.”