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

Iowa fans in Carver-Hawkeye Arena witnessed history, but not to much surprise

From longtime season-ticket holders to birthday celebrators, the Black and Gold faithful reflected on Caitlin Clark’s record-breaking shot and the progress that led up to it.
Cody Blissett
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark prepares to shoot the record-breaking shot during a women’s basketball game between No. 2 Iowa and Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2024.

Renee Mance had no intention of watching Caitlin Clark break the all-time NCAA women’s basketball scoring record. Mance’s son, Griffin, had his ninth birthday in January, and after watching a couple of Hawkeye men’s hoops games – both losses – he wanted to see an Iowa victory. So, to fulfill her son’s wish, Mance began looking for available games for the women’s basketball team back in December. 

With weekend games being too pricey, Mance selected the Thursday evening matchup against Michigan. Two months later, the pair made the hour-and-20-minute drive from their home in Geneseo, Illinois, to Iowa City, Iowa, and bore witness to history. 

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“I don’t think it will be a free throw or anything like that,” Mance said. 

“I’m pretty sure everyone will be screaming,” Griffin added. 

Mance and her son were just one example of thousands of fans making the venture to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and they didn’t have to wait long — Just 2:14 into the game. 

Five offensive possessions. Three shots. Eight points. No.1 in the record books. For some, this came as no surprise. 

Judy Hestead, 73, has been a season-ticket holder for the past five years, sitting just two rows up from the court. A University of Iowa graduate in 1972, Hestead has watched the team practice and said Clark’s intensity doesn’t have an off switch. 

“She was determined she was going to do that,” Hestead said of Clark breaking the record. “She’s going to get those eight points out of the way and move on.” 

But once Clark’s deep triple thrashed the twine for her second three of the contest and Michigan missed a layup on the next possession, Hawkeye head coach Lisa Bluder put the game on pause, calling a timeout as Iowa’s bench swarmed Clark at center court. 

“They were probably glad [chasing the record] was over, too,” Hestead said of the Hawkeyes. 

As for the center of attention, Hestead noted the relief Clark must have felt watching the shot fall through the net and the mounting pressure sliding off her shoulders. 

“Even though she’s such a great representative, she’s still just a kid,” Hestead said of Clark. 

Clark may be a household name now, but 126 games, 487 made threes, and 3,569 points ago, she was just a blip on the college basketball radar. 

The first time Mance heard of Clark was a couple years ago, when her father texted her, demanding that she tune in on T.V. to “watch this girl playing for the Iowa Hawkeyes because she’s the real deal.” On Thursday evening, Mance got to re-experience what she’s seen from her childhood growing up in Iowa. Only this time, ten-fold the magnitude.  

“I can remember going to girl’s basketball games as a Girl Scout, but it was never a packed stadium,” she said. “Just the way she’s transformed women’s basketball, women’s athletics in general, and to have her represent the state of Iowa is such an amazing feat. I’m super excited to be a part of it.”

The moment could’ve occurred on the road on Feb. 11 against Nebraska, but to have the event in familiar territory – same as Washington’s Kelsey Plum when she set the previous record back in 2017 – was a special sight for Hestead. The fact that Clark’s shot unfolded in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,500 fans compared to just 6,775 for Plum reveals the progress of women’s sports in recent years and Clark’s indelible impact on such growth. 

“She’s so well-spoken, and so great with the little kids,” Hestead said. “I think that’s important. It’s just a new spotlight on women’s sports.” 

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About the Contributors
Matt McGowan, Pregame Editor
he/him/his Matt McGowan is The Daily Iowan's Pregame Editor. He is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communications and American studies with a minor in sport studies.  This is his second year with the DI
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.