The Rise of Women’s Hawkeye Basketball and the All-American Caitlin Clark

The Rise of Womens Hawkeye Basketball and the All-American Caitlin Clark

“It’s bigger than basketball.”

Iowa Women’s Basketball has become increasingly popular this 2023-2024 season, with the rise of Caitlin Clark, and the inspiration she and the Women’s team are bringing to kids and athletes all over the world.

Overview of Iowa Women’s Basketball: 

Lisa Bluder, head coach of the Iowa Women’s Basketball team, set a goal for her team to topple the national attendance record of 29,619 fans at a women’s basketball game. They accomplished this goal by having a “crossover at Kinnick game” outdoors. This caused the attendance record to increase to 55,646 as a skyrocketing number of fans came to support these women. It felt like a football weekend to some because of the outdoor aspect and the amount of people who showed up in support. It didn’t just end there. The team in April was able to draw in 9.9 million fans at the NCAA Tournament which was broadcast everywhere. They also managed to sell out their 2023-2024 tickets for the season.

The University of Iowa is using its popularity for good by giving back to the community and inspiring young athletes through their visits to the local children’s hospital. They also host youth basketball clinics and build houses for Habitat for Humanity. The significance of this can be attributed to the celebrity aspect of Caitlin Clark.

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Caitlin Clark:

Caitlin Clark grew up in West Des Moines and attended Dowling Catholic High School, where she played basketball and began her career of being in the spotlight. Many people she played with claim that she is aggressive, but an amazing teammate to play with. A fifth-year assistant for the Iowa basketball team states, “Her teammates love her”. She is known on the team for being there to win but is also always being goofy while having a good time and inspiring people along the way. Caitlin Clark has won many awards in her career so far. In 2020, she was awarded the McDonald’s All-American Award and was the number 4 player in her class, voted by ESPN. In her sophomore year of college, she was named All-American and was the first woman to lead Division 1 in points and assists. Junior year, she successfully won all major national Player of the Year awards. She also has been awarded the Dawn Stanley Award three times and the Nancy Liberman Award two times, as well as being named MVP in 2021. During her recruitment time before committing to Iowa, her top three schools were Iowa, Iowa State and Notre Dame. She has now signed with 5 companies: Gatorade in a NIL deal, Hy-Vee, Nike, Topps and H&R Block.

“I’m glad I’ve given something that little girls can scream about at the top of their lungs.”- Caitlin Clark

Caitlin is inspired to help increase the excitement for women’s Basketball all over.

Hawkeye Fan attendance and spirit: 

Fan attendance has greatly increased this basketball season, as we have seen all over in the news. The Hawkeye fans have started to show up and be one of the best student/fan sections at women’s basketball. In an interview with Kate Martin, a player on the Women’s Hawkeye Basketball team, “It’s so electric in here. There’s nothing better than Hawkeye fans… but there’s nothing better than Hawkeye’s faith.” Fan attendance has been shown to help increase a player’s confidence during the game, and it helps them feel supported and confident in their team and skills. High attendance not only helps the players but also the coaches during the recruitment process. With people seeing the amount of fans showing up to games, it helps other athletes want to be a part of their team in the coming years. As we already know, a lot of the fan attendance can be attributed to Caitlin Clark and the skills she brings to the team, as well as many of her teammates. She is the “face of women’s basketball” according to head coach, Lisa Bluder in an interview. “Clark is a draw, and it’s a lot more fun to see her in person.”

Caitlin Clark loves to wait around after games, meet her fans and sign jerseys and posters. Lots of kids now are often seen wearing her jerseys to support her. She has demolished the trend of women’s sports not having the support of men’s sports. She wants to inspire people and make an impact as she goes. “I do enjoy the attention because one of my goals is to inspire the next generation.” Caitlin Clark has done exactly this. She has inspired many young athletes who are a part of the Central Lyon Middle School Girl’s Basketball Team. These middle schoolers are being heavily impacted by Caitlin Clark and want to reach their goals of playing in high school and moving on to college ball, just like Caitlin did.

I interviewed Celie Gardiner, a senior on the Girl’s ADM Basketball team. I asked her if she thinks Caitlin Clark is an inspiration for not just Caitlin’s teammates, but basketball players at our school as well. She said, “Yes I think she’s helping grow women’s basketball games in Iowa and she motivates me because of her competitive nature. It can be very encouraging for everyone.”

“I want my legacy to be the impact that I can have on young kids and the people in the state of Iowa… I was just that young girl, so all you have to do is dream and you can be in moments like this.” – Caitlin Clark

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