College hoops has a new face, and she’s generational

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark is the best player in college


Courtesy of JD Scott for MGoBlog

Caitlin Clark vs. Michigan Feb 6, 2023.

HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor

I have a bad habit of arguing with bigots on the internet. Recently I got into a rather heated series of TikTok debates about the quality of NCAA women’s basketball. It was ultimately mostly futile, as misogynistic trolls do not tend to change their minds. However, I did find a silver bullet that changed a few minds, a single point that made them realize how electric the women’s game can be.

Her name is Caitlin Clark.

It is not often that a college sport has a face in the way that NCAA women’s basketball currently does. Perhaps there are big names, and someone wins Player of the Year, but during the season there are usually a few different big names and stories being told around every sport.

In her three years at Iowa, Clark has been climbing her way into the public eye and by now she has solidly cemented herself as the true face of women’s college basketball and one of the top players of the sport at any level.

What makes Caitlin Clark so special? The answer is simpler than you might think: everything. Let’s take her most recent game as an example, an Elite Eight matchup in the NCAA tournament between No. 2 Iowa and No. 5 Louisville. 

Iowa ended up winning 97-83, not an upset but an impressive margin of victory. The first quarter ended with the Ha​​wkeyes up 25-21. Of those 25 points, Clark scored or assisted on all of them. Every single one. She finished that first half with 21 points, and Iowa held a 48-43 lead. 

When the game got close again briefly in the third, Clark led a quick run by Iowa that grew the lead. That quarter went 30-16 for the Hawkeyes. The fourth was similarly dominant, and Iowa advanced to their first Final Four in Clark’s lifetime.

Her final statline?

41 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, the first 40 point triple-double in NCAA tournament history, men’s or women’s. She also added three steals.

The NCAA tournament is all about people having the best games of their lives on the biggest stage. Countless players who were previously unknown catapult into brief stardom when they put up 30 to lead their team to an upset, or hit an improbable game winner from way downtown.

Clark is not one of those players. While her performance against Louisville was one of her best games ever, it was by no means an outlier. She’s been doing this the whole time, and she has yet to show any signs of stopping.

In just this tournament alone she has scored 41, 31, 22 and 26 while dishing out double-digit assists in all but one of those games. In the final of the Big 10 tournament against Ohio State she recorded another triple-double, this time with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and she tied her own Big 10 assist record with 17. 

Clark has full control over every aspect of the game, scoring effortlessly from range and inside while throwing dimes to every part of the floor and grabbing rebounds away from women taller than she is. She is the most electric player in sports right now, and everyone should get a chance to experience the Caitlin Clark show. 

The next chance to do so is on Friday in the Final Four, where Clark and her Iowa Hawkeyes will be matching up with the top seeded South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gamecocks are the favorites to win the whole thing and have lost no games all season, but Iowa has Caitlin Clark.  That makes it a tossup.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 6 p.m., do not miss it.