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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Caitlin Clark’s declaration for WNBA Draft stirs excitement

Rachel Choi
Illustration Rachel Choi

On Feb. 29, the University of Iowa Women’s Basketball star Caitlin Clark declared for the 2024 WNBA Draft, she was forgoing her fifth year of eligibility at Iowa. After announcing her decision, she was automatically predicted as the No. 1 overall draft pick. 

Clark was born in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 22, 2002. She attended Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines, where she played varsity soccer in addition to varsity basketball. During her junior year at Dowling, she averaged 32.6 points per game and compiled 991 points during her first two seasons. She was awarded Iowa Miss Basketball in 2020, Gatorade state player of the year in 2019, and McDonalds All-American in 2020. 

She also played on the USA U19 women’s basketball team from 2017-2021 where she won three gold medals. In the 2021 season, she started all seven games and averaged 14.3 points per game and was named MVP of the tournament. 

Clark is a senior guard at Iowa. She has set numerous records during her time there, including the all-time NCAA scoring record for both men and women, the first woman to lead her conference in scoring and assists in four consecutive seasons, the all-time leader in 30+ point performances, Iowa’s all-time leader in assists, three-point field goals, field goals, and scoring, and holds the most Big Ten awards at 28. 

Clark announced her decision to declare for the draft on her Instagram just days before breaking the all-time NCAA scoring record on March 3. After her announcement, the WNBA saw an increase in ticket sales

The Indiana Fever will have the first draft pick, followed by the Los Angeles Sparks, Chicago Sky, and Seattle Storm. Clark is predicted to sign with the Indiana Fever and earn $76,535 as her base salary in her first year. Clark also signed to financial service company and Fever sponsor, Gainbridge. 

Indiana Fever’s general manager, Lin Dunn, told ESPN that the team is looking for someone to take over the point guard position as well as score, pass, and play the two-and-one position.

Throughout Clark’s collegiate career, she has continuously pushed boundaries and broken records. Being the only Division I player with over 3,000 points and 1,000 assists, Clark is projected to be a high-scorer and a great addition to the Fever’s roster. 

Clark’s declaration for the draft has already increased interest in the WNBA, as seen in tickets for the Indiana Fever doubling in price and generating a 180 percent spike in traffic to the Fever’s website. 

Clark has also generated a substantial increase in viewership at the college level for women’s sports, garnering a record 4.42 million viewers on March 3 in the Iowa vs. Ohio State game where she broke the NCAA scoring record.

Although Clark still has a fifth season of eligibility with the Hawkeyes, she has chosen to forgo an additional collegiate season for the draft. Even though she is not participating in her fifth year at Iowa, she has still declared that she intends to finish this season strong with the Hawkeyes. 

As reigning NCAA national player of the year, there is a huge buzz around her decision to announce the 2024 WNBA draft. On March 7, draft tickets went on sale, and in the first 15 minutes, over 1,000 tickets for the event were sold. 

Clark’s achievements in her collegiate career make her a very exciting WNBA prospect predicted to break numerous WNBA rookie records, the most feasible being assists. Currently, Clark is averaging 32 points per game, which is not as sustainable in the WNBA, but her assist average, 8.7 a game, could be a more viable stat to maintain for record-breaking contention. 

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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Smitten, Staff Writer
Kaitlyn Smitten (she/her) is a freshman journalism student from Red Deer, Alberta. Canada. Kaitlyn is a part of the Emerson College softball team and enjoys traveling, reading, and listening to music. She aspires to be an investigative and/or breaking news reporter.

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