The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Caitlin Clark’s impact beyond the court

Iowa’s star has changed women’s basketball forever
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GRACIE ROGERS

If you follow college basketball, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about Caitlin Clark.

The Iowa Hawkeyes guard has dominated headlines as of late, most notably for taking the title of the NCAA’s all-time leading point scorer in women’s basketball Feb. 13. Beyond that accomplishment, Clark has been on fire this season, etching herself into legend stat-by-stat, and has become arguably the most prolific college basketball player of all time.

Few student-athletes have reached the level of stardom that Clark has off talent alone. Her glory is that of her own making and her presence on the court is positively electric.

Not only does she dominate the record book in career points, but Clark stands as the first player to record 3,500+ points, 1,000+ assists and 850+ rebounds in the NCAA, according to Iowa Athletics. Overall, she tops the NCAA with 8.5 assists and 32.1 points per game this season.

What’s more: Clark is 51 points shy from becoming the top scorer in the history of both men’s and women’s NCAA basketball. The record currently belongs to Pete Maravich, who totaled 3,667 career points during his time at LSU between 1967-70.

With two games left in her senior season, that title is in sight. The nation knows it. Where the Hawkeyes go, fans follow in groves, paying top dollar to watch Clark ball out. Take a glimpse at any video captured this season, and just beyond the court, you’ll see that the bleachers are packed. The energy in each arena that Clark has played in this season is palpable through a screen. 

As of Feb. 27, the lowest price for tickets to Clark’s final game (against the Buckeyes Sunday at 12 p.m.) is a whopping $454. These prices are the most expensive in the history of women’s basketball, both collegiate and pro, according to CNN.  

Importantly, many of those fans vying for a chance to watch Clark write history are young girls.

This opens up larger conversation regarding the importance of female representation in sport. Simply by being herself and playing her game, Clark has become a role model, someone that girls and boys alike look up to across the nation. It’s clear by the way that kids vy for her autograph after games, wearing custom T-shirts and clutching hand-painted posters, that she is a part of something larger than basketball itself.

According to Forbes, media coverage of women’s sports has increased in recent years with women’s basketball leading in total hours. Athletes as profound as Clark are driving this coverage even further. 

It is important for young girls to have stars like Clark to admire and take inspiration from. The lack of representation of women within the industry as a whole is a major factor influencing the participation of young girls in sports, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Beyond a leveled playing field with their male peers (and subsequently, men’s and women’s professional sports), girls also see physical, social, emotional, academic and leadership benefits through their participation in sports.

Clark’s performance also raises questions about the future of women’s basketball as a whole. Pay disparities between men and women’s basketball have been a topic of conversation for years, with top WBNA salaries ($234,936) being a fraction of the lowest in the NBA ($953,000)

Clark’s current estimated NIL earnings stand at $910,000. Her NCAA eligibility permits for one more year of play, which Clark has not yet confirmed, but her potential earnings in 2025 will far outweigh a WNBA salary.

The caliber of play in women’s basketball merits more — more pay, more coverage and more of what their male counterparts see in the NBA. Clark’s record-breaking career and swarm of adoring fans prove just that.

Perhaps she’s a generational talent. Perhaps we’ll never see anything quite like her again. But one thing is for certain: Caitlin Clark’s impact will be long-lasting.

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About the Contributors
KEDZIE MOE, Evergreen Sports Reporter
Kedzie is a junior PR major from Seattle, Washington. She began writing in the sports section in the fall of 2023 and working as a copy editor in the spring of 2024. She is interested in the intersection of sports, culture and politics.
GRACIE ROGERS, Evergreen Illustration editor
Gracie Rogers is a graphic illustrator for the Daily Evergreen. She is a senior Digital Technology & Culture major from Pullman, Washington. Gracie started working for the Daily Evergreen back in Spring 2022.