The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

‘I’m going to treat it like my last year’: Iowa women’s basketball’s Caitlin Clark talks upcoming season

The star guard talked about the Crossover at Kinnick event and her future with the Hawkeyes.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark speaks to the media during Iowa women’s basketball media day at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Iowa finished runner-up in the 2023 NCAA women’s national championship.

There is a common saying in the Iowa women’s basketball locker room that pressure is a privilege, and lucky for head coach Lisa Bluder, her squad will face that and more trying to surpass a historic last season. 

But for star guard Caitlin Clark, she wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

“We want to be ranked in the top 10. We want a sold-out arena. We want fans on the road booing us— that’s what a competitor wants,” Clark said during Iowa women’s basketball media day Wednesday morning. 

Clark led the Hawkeyes to their first national title game appearance and the squad’s most wins in a single season, averaging 27.8 points and 8.6 assists per game. Iowa advanced to the NCAA Championship after taking down unbeaten and top-ranked South Carolina in the Final Four behind Clark’s 41 points.

She is entering her senior season with the Hawkeyes, and many fans and teammates are wondering whether she will stay for an extra year or enter her name in the 2024 WNBA Draft, where she is projected to go No. 1 overall to the Indiana Fever.

Bluder said she would love for Clark to return to Iowa but said she’s not worried if she decides not to.

“Everybody wants her to come back, but it’s her choice if she chooses to go on. I have a really good recruiting class coming in, [and] I feel very confident,” Bluder said.

Clark said she doesn’t know what her decision is yet but is approaching the upcoming season like it’s her last at Iowa regardless.

“It’s not something that I let weigh on me,” she said. “I’m focused on helping this team be the best team they can be, and when I know my decision, [the public] will know too.”

Iowa’s’ run last season shined even more national attention on the West Des Moines, Iowa, native. She broke multiple NCAA regular season and tournament records, winning all national women’s player of the year awards, including the Associated Press Player of the Year, Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, Naismith College Player of the Year, and the Honda Cup. 

Iowa’s 102-85 loss to Louisiana State in the national championship was also the most-viewed women’s college basketball game on record with 9.9 million viewers. In fact, every time Iowa advanced in the tournament, viewership grew compared to the 2022 tournament. 

Clark said she won’t shy away from being the face of women’s basketball if it means more new viewers, even if she can’t step out in public without being recognized. 

“It’s cool to see people rally behind this team whether it’s just in our state, or you know, across the country. I’ll be traveling and people will even recognize me for who I am,” she said. “It’s cool to see the amount of attention our team brought to women’s basketball.” 

Bluder said there is a possibility of having turmoil in the locker room with a player of Clark’s stature, but said when Clark shines, so does the rest of the team. 

“It speaks volumes that Gabby [Marshall] and Kate [Martin] elected to come back and wanted to play with her. That shows you what kind of teammate she is and what kind of person she is,” Bluder said. “I think the players all respect her so much because they see she’s working hard.”

But this is a new season for Clark, and new additions to the starting lineup—center Addison O’Grady and forward Hannah Stuelke—are looking to replace the productivity of  Monika Czinano and McKenna Warnock, who were the team’s second and third top scorers last season, respectively. 

“We put in a lot of different stuff this year that we think is going to help us that is different than what we ran with McKenna and Monika,” Clark said. “ I try to tell them in practice [to] play with a competent attitude, [and] what your role was last year is going to be different this year.”

Guard Taylor McCabe is one underclassman being looked upon to step up in her role this season. During the offseason, she said she would workout with Clark multiple times a week. 

“She just teaches me how to enjoy the game more and more every single day and how to stay positive with yourself when things get challenging because the way that she plays is super challenging,” McCabe said. 

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About the Contributors
Cooper Worth
Cooper Worth, Pregame reporter
Cooper Worth is a Pregame Reporter for The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication. He is also earning a minor in communication studies and an entrepreneurial management certificate. This is his third year at the DI, previously serving as a News Editor and as a News Reporter covering local government in Johnson County for the DI. Cooper interned for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa during the summer of 2023 as a general news reporter.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.