Sports

Caitlin Clark selected by Indiana Fever with No. 1 pick in 2024 WNBA Draft

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Eight days after completing one of the greatest college basketball careers on record, Caitlin Clark was selected with the first pick in Monday’s WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever.

Clark is ready to not only help the Fever return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, but also use her star power to shake up the WNBA at a critical time in its history.

“I think more than anything, I’m really excited,” Clark told NBC News last weekend.

Clark achieved historic levels of success during his four seasons at Iowa. She scored 3,951 points – the most ever in NCAA men’s or women’s Division I history. She also broke the single-season 3-point shooting record, competed in two national championships, and was twice named National Player of the Year.

These are just a few of his accolades during a career so prolific that Iowa announced last week — not even a week after his college career ended — that it would retire his No. 22 jersey .

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Clark often performed in front of sold-out crowds and his matches broke television audience records. South Carolina’s victory over Iowa in the 2024 national championship was seen on ABC by 18.9 million viewers, with a peak audience of 24.1 million – a 90% increase from the game for the 2023 title and 289% compared to 2022. The game broke viewership records that had been set days before during Iowa’s Elite Eight game against LSU.

Even Monday’s draft at the Brooklyn Academy of Music was expected to break the event’s audience record.

Anticipation of Clark’s arrival in the WNBA increased interest in Indiana. Thirty-six Fever games – 90 percent of its schedule – will be broadcast on national television this coming season, one more than the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces.

According to ticket marketplace Vivid Seats, as of Wednesday, Indiana’s average ticket price has increased 190 percent since last season. Ticket sales spiked shortly after Fever won the draft lottery in December, even though Clark had not yet declared whether she would turn pro or return to Iowa for one final season of eligibility.

On February 29, just days before Iowa’s final home game of the regular season, Clark announced her decision to enter the WNBA draft. Within minutes, Indiana, which had won just 18 games total over the past two seasons, reminded fans to purchase season tickets with a social media post that read, “Get on board.” They continued to hint at his selection, tweeting as late as Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET that there were only 22 hours left until the draft — a reference to Clark’s number.

On Monday night, the wait ended when Clark joined the franchise, where she will team up with last year’s No. 1 pick, reigning Rookie of the Year Aliyah Boston of South Carolina. Clark’s celebrity status was prominent throughout the weekend, highlighted by an appearance on Saturday Night Live. But long before she thought about appearing on comedy shows or filling arenas, she dreamed of playing in the WNBA.

In elementary school, she wrote down one of her future goals: reaching the WNBA. Monday evening, that aspiration became reality.

WNBA Draft First Round Results

  1. Caitlin Clark, G, Iowa — Indiana Fever
  2. Cameron Brink, F, Stanford — Los Angeles Sparks
  3. Kamilla Cardoso, C, South Carolina – Chicago Sky (via Phoenix Mercury)
  4. Rickea Jackson, F, Tennessee – Los Angeles Sparks (via Seattle Storm)
  5. Jacy Sheldon, G, Ohio State – Dallas Wings, (via Chicago Sky)
  6. Aaliyah Edwards, F, UConn — Washington Mystics
  7. Angel Reese, F, LSU – Chicago Sky (via Minnesota Lynx)
  8. Alissa Pili, F, Utah – Minnesota Lynx (via Atlanta Dream)
  9. Carla Leite, G, Tarbes (France) — Dallas Wings
  10. Leila Lacan, G, Angers (France) — Connecticut Sun
  11. Marquesha Davis, G, Ole Miss — New York Liberty
  12. Nyadiew Puoch, F, Southside Flyers (Australia) – Atlanta Dream (via Las Vegas Aces)
go further

GO FURTHER

WNBA Draft 2024: Angel Reese chosen No. 7 by Chicago

The results of the second and third rounds can be viewed here.

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(Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

News Source : theathletic.com
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