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

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Eight days after completing one of the greatest collegiate basketball careers ever recorded, Caitlin Clark was selected with the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft on Monday by the Indiana Fever.

Not only is Clark poised to help the Fever return to the postseason for the first time since 2016, she will also use her star power to shake up the WNBA at a critical juncture in its history.

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

Clark achieved historic levels of success during her four seasons at Iowa State. She scored 3,951 points — the most ever in NCAA Division I men's or women's history. She also broke the record for 3-pointers made in a season, made two national championship appearances and was twice named National Player of the Year.

Those are just some of the accolades she has accrued from a career that was so prolific that Iowa State announced last week — not even a week after her college career ended — that it would retire its No. 22 jersey.

Pulse bulletin

Free daily sports updates straight to your inbox. subscription

Free daily sports updates straight to your inbox. subscription

He buysBuy the Pulse newsletter

Clark often performed to sold-out crowds and her games broke television viewing records. South Carolina's win over Iowa in the 2024 national championship on ABC was watched by 18.9 million viewers, with a peak audience of 24.1 million — a 90 percent increase from the 2023 title game and a 289 percent increase from 2022. The game broke the viewing records it set Just days ago in Iowa's Elite Eight game against LSU.

See also  Novak Djokovic confirms he will miss the US Open due to the case of the Covid vaccine | Novak Djokovic

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

The anticipation of Clarke making it to the WNBA has increased interest in Indiana. Thirty-six of the Fever's games — 90 percent of its schedule — will be broadcast on national television next 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 was up 190 percent since last season. Ticket sales soared shortly after the Fever won the draft lottery in December, though Clark has yet to announce whether she will turn pro or return to Iowa State for her final season of eligibility.

On February 29, just days before Iowa's final regular-season game at home, Clark announced her decision to enter the WNBA draft. Within minutes, Indiana State, which has won just 18 games the past two seasons, reminded fans to purchase season tickets with a social media post that read, “Jump on board.” They continue to hint at her selection, most recently tweeting at 9:30pm ET on Sunday that there were only 22 hours left until the draft – a reference to Clarke's number.

And on Monday night, the wait ended with Clarke joining the franchise, where she will be paired with last year's No. 1 pick, Rookie of the Year winner Aliyah Boston, of South Carolina. Clarke's popularity was prominent throughout the weekend, highlighted by her appearance on Saturday Night Live. But long before she thought about appearing on comedy shows or selling out arenas, she dreamed of playing in the WNBA.

See also  Where's the Pac-12 TV deal? On Media Day, George Klyavkov tries to focus on football

In elementary school, she wrote down one of her future goals: to create the WNBA. On Monday night, that ambition became a reality.

WNBA Draft First Round Results

  1. Kaitlyn Clark, G, Iowa – Indiana Fever
  2. Cameron Brink, F, Stanford – Los Angeles Sparks
  3. Camila Cardoso, C, South Carolina – Chicago Sky (via Phoenix Mercury)
  4. Rekia Jackson, F, Tennessee – Los Angeles Sparks (via Seattle Storm)
  5. Jesse 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. Alyssa Bailey, F, UT – Minnesota Lynx (via Atlanta Dream)
  9. Carla Leite, G, Tarbes (France) – Dallas Wings
  10. Leila Lacan, J, Angers (France) – Connecticut Sun
  11. Markisha Davis, J, Ole Miss – New York Liberty
  12. Nyadiew Puoch, F, Southside Flyers (Australia) – Atlanta Dream (via Las Vegas Aces)
deepen

Go deeper

2024 WNBA Draft: Angel Reese selected seventh overall by Chicago

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

Required reading

(Photo: Sarah Steer/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *