Thursday, July 25, 2024

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

BROOKLYN, NY – Eight days after one of the greatest college basketball careers ever recorded, Caitlin Clark was selected by the Indiana Fever as the No. 1 pick in Monday's WNBA draft.

Clarke is poised to not only help the Fever return to the postseason for the first time since 2016, but also to use her star power at an important juncture in WNBA history.

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

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

Some of the accolades he's received come from a career that was so prosperous that Iowa announced last week that it wasn't even a week after his college career ended.

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Clark often performed in front of sold-out crowds and his games shattered television viewing records. South Carolina's victory over Iowa in the 2024 national championship was watched by 18.9 million viewers on ABC, with a peak audience of 24.1 million viewers — a 90 percent increase from the 2023 title game and a 289 percent increase from 2022. The game broke viewership records. Set a few days earlier in Iowa's Elite Eight matchup against LSU.

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

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Anticipation of Clark's return to the WNBA boosted interest in Indiana. Thirty-six Fever games — 90 percent of its schedule — will be nationally televised this coming season, more than the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces.

As of Wednesday, the average price for Indiana tickets was up 190 percent from last season, according to ticket marketplace Vivid Tickets. Ticket sales spiked after the Fever won the draft lottery in December, but Clark has yet to announce whether he will turn pro or return to Iowa for his final season of eligibility.

On February 29, just days before Iowa's final regular season home game, Clark announced her decision to enter the WNBA draft. Within minutes, Indiana, which had won just 18 games over the past two seasons, reminded fans to buy season tickets with a social media post that read, “Hope on board.” Tweeted at 9:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, with just 22 hours until the draft — a reference to Clark's number.

On Monday night, the wait ended as Clark joined the franchise, where he will join last year's No. 1 pick in Rookie of the Year Alia Boston of South Carolina. Clarke's popularity took center stage throughout the weekend, highlighted by an appearance on Saturday Night Live. But long before she was thinking about appearing on comedy shows or selling out arenas, she dreamed of playing in the WNBA.

In elementary school, she wrote down one of her future goals: to make the WNBA. On Monday night, that wish came true.

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WNBA Draft First Round Results

  1. Caitlin 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. Rickia Jackson, F, Tennessee – Los Angeles Sparks (via Seattle Storm)
  5. Jaycee Shelton, 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 Philly, F, Utah – Minnesota Lynx (via Atlanta Dream)
  9. Carla Light, G, Tarps (France) – Dallas Wings
  10. Leila Lakhan, G, Angers (France) – Connecticut Sun
  11. Marquesha Davis, G, Ole Miss — New York Liberty
  12. Southside Flyers (Australia) – Atlanta Dream (via Las Vegas Aces)
to go deeper

Go deeper

WNBA Draft 2024: Angel Reese goes No. 7 to Chicago

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

Required reading

(Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

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