Stellar Clark heads into the postseason with a hefty resume

Iowa freshman Caitlin Clark annihilated the record books this season.

As the No. 4-ranked freshman in her class, the Iowa native was tops. Her ability to shoot and score from anywhere on the court resulted in more than a few jaw-dropping moments, as her sometimes-40-foot shots went in 49 percent of the time – and 42 percent from behind the arc. Clark scored 30 or more points in 11 games, including a career-high 39 points against Nebraska last month.

In that game, she shot 12-18 from the field, made six three-point shots, was 9-9 from the free throw line, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out seven assists. In her post-game interview, Clark was characteristically nonchalant.

“I play my best basketball when I’m more patient and calm, and that’s what I did tonight,” Clark said. “My shot just felt good tonight. At the end of the game, I kind of knew our offense had become more stagnant, and we needed a big shot. That last three-pointer … I just kind of pulled up and took it. I knew that I had to.”

This past Saturday, in their regular-season finale, the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers matched up for the second time. As she did in the first go-around, Clark put up some serious numbers. This time it was 35 points on 11-19 shooting and 5-10 from beyond the arc, to go along with eight rebounds and four assists. She shook off a slow start and scored 19 of her 35 points in the fourth quarter to lead Iowa to an 83-75 victory.

In two games last week, Clark averaged 33.5 points, 4.5 assists, five rebounds, and a steal. She was 13-of-14 from the free-throw line and recorded five three-pointers in each match up. At No. 10 Indiana she was 5-of-7 from three-point range and 11-of-18 from the field, and finished with 32 points, five assists, two rebounds, and a steal.

Clark has incredible range, successfully executes difficult shots, and is multi-skilled. And as good as she is, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said she still has much more room to improve – a sobering thought.

Caitlin Clark’s regular season:

  • Clark tallied 22 Big Ten Weekly honors, including a conference-best 13 Freshman of the Week honors, a conference record five Player of the Week honors as a freshman, and four Player of the Week Honor Roll nods.
  • Clark leads the nation in total points (631), points per game (27.4), three-pointers made (92), and three-pointers per game. She leads the Big Ten and ranks second nationally in total assists (158) and field goals made (210).
  • Against Nebraska, Clark became just the fifth Hawkeye to record a 600-plus point season. She is the first freshman to accomplish the feat.

This year Clark is averaging 27.4 points, 6 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game. She is fun to watch, as she is just as willing to drive to the basket as she is to shoot, and she has lead the conference in assists all year long.

Today the Iowa native was named the Big Ten freshman of the year, and made both the all-conference first team and the all-freshman team. With that kind of a start to her college career, Clark seems poised to do what she said she came to the Hawkeyes to do: lead them to the Final Four.

Iowa will be the No. 6 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. They face No. 11 Purdue Wednesday.