Iowa’s Caitlin Clark is the biggest show in all of women’s basketball

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CHARLOTTE — A television camera operator peers around the curtain that leads to the Spectrum Center floor. He turns back with an announcement for his utility man holding the cable and everyone else standing around this impossibly dark hallway waiting to see greatness up close.

“Yo!” he says. “She’s coming!”

From the arena can be heard the swell of squeals from the young kids still riled up past their bedtime after witnessing a 44-point performance from college basketball’s most important player. Three other photographers behind a black velvet rope silently focus on getting the shots to feed the insatiable appetite for more and more content.

Yes, Caitlin Clark is coming, down the hallway and into the sanctum of the visiting team’s locker room, and I have to imagine anyone in the WNBA who noticed the scene at this neutral-site game in November — where 15,196 energized fans showed up for the Ally Tipoff — would love to hear that announcement soon.

Who knows whether this season at Iowa is the Last Dance, Caitlin’s version. She’s a fourth-year senior on the cusp of becoming her game’s career leading scorer, and she epitomizes what’s possible for a college star in the name, image and likeness era with a team of sports agents and sponsorship deals with Nike, Bose and State Farm, just to name a few. But because Clark, 21, started college during the covid year and began playing in front of cardboard cutouts filling the seats, she still has a year of eligibility remaining.

“She stays in the moment. We always talk [about it] a lot: Be where your feet are. She’s being here right now,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “She doesn’t have to make a decision right now. I wouldn’t want her making a decision right now. I mean, I want her to be able to enjoy the year and then decide at the end of the year.”

In Iowa’s pregame hype video that could rival an NBA team’s production, Hawkeyes players are featured on a stage, not a court, along with an orchestra. When Clark appears in the video, she does that thing where she spreads her arms — the “Are you not entertained?” pose — and Hawkeyes fans watching roar as if they’re witnessing swagger for the first time. The hype video ends: “Welcome To The Show.”

Whether in video or on the floor, Clark is “The Show.” When her No. 3 Hawkeyes are flowing just right, she’s the conductor of their symphony. The ball zips. Players move. Clark herself keeps shooting, even through cold spells. And if Hawkeyes fans are lucky, she will seize the moment and spread her arms.

“I grew up a fan of women’s basketball, and I’ve always understood there’s really great players in this game that’s really fun to watch,” Clark said. “Players are very skilled, and at the same time, they’re some of my biggest role models and the people that I looked up to. So it’s cool to see myself on the stage now. It’s very…

Read More: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark is the biggest show in all of women’s basketball 2023-11-10 19:59:00

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