Caitlin Clark’s impact on women’s basketball transcends beyond the court

University of Iowa All-American Caitlin Clark has transcended the game off the floor for years to come.

There has been athletes throughout the decades who have transcended the game beyond the playing field.

Babe Ruth

Jesse Owens

Babe Didrickson

Muhammad Ali

Billie Jean King

Magic Johnson

Michael Jordan

Tiger Woods

They were all show stoppers, sports figures who everyone just couldn’t get enough of and inspired generations to come.

You can add Caitlin Clark to this list.

The Iowa Hawkeye All-American helped raise women’s basketball to a whole new level this season.

The Hawkeyes played in front of a packed house every night and set an attendance record for their kickoff “Krossover at Kinnick” game at Iowa’s stadium.

Ratings went off the charts for the NCAA women’s tournament, some drawing some 4.1 million more than the men’s championship game.

Ticket prices were also higher for the women than the men.

Little girls watched Clark’s every move at games and sought her autograph, which Clark gladly obliged.

Camryn Driscoll, Princeton’s rising sophomore standout, took special interest watching Clark and the Hawkeyes.

“I have been following Iowa a lot lately and I have really been enjoying watching Caitlin Clark and Kate Martin play,” she said. “I love how Caitlin isn’t afraid to pull up and create her own shots and make plays happen and that’s the part of my game I want to improve on the most.

“And I really like watching Kate Martin play, because I love her attitude and how she builds up her teammates and the hustle she has.”

St. Bede coach Stephanie Mickley, who took her girls basketball team to the state tournament for the first time, said Clark is a great role model in many ways.

“I think Caitlin Clark has made a huge impact on young girls not only on her skills, but also her conduct and humility to her skill level,” she said.

Princeton girls coach Tiffany Gonigam said there’s so much to say for the impact that Clark and the Iowa women’s basketball team has had on young girls as well as young boys and adults.

“She has captivated various audiences across the country and brought so much joy to people who just enjoy watching her and the team compete,” she said. “You see Hawkeye gear and Caitlin Clark shirts everywhere. It’s an exciting time for women’s basketball. To see the ratings breaking records and see Caitlin and this team performing on the biggest stage, it gives all young girls hope and encouragement that they could be there too.

“Caitlin has earned every bit of praise and recognition that she has received and I think what makes her so easy to root for is the way that she carries herself. She has worked her whole life to get to this stage and these moments and she’s the first to acknowledge and praise her teammates and coaches.”

Gonigam said her program had a watch party for one of the Iowa games and had a blast.

“The girls were so into the game and many of them watch the team play often. As a coach, it’s exciting to see the impact not only on the team I coach, but also the future players and other young kids in the community,” she said.

PC girls basketball coach Jared Sale said the rise in popularity for all of women’s sports is long overdue.

“To see college women’s basketball take off the way that it has with incredible role models like Clark or a JuJu Watkins gives hope that this is only the beginning for the sport and all women’s sports,” he said. “I just think it’s great that young girls have amazing female athletes to look up to and model their game after and hopefully these players and the positive media the sport has been receiving continues to ascend and inspire more and more young female athletes to chase after their dreams on and off the court.”

Clark’s impact on the game will last long after all the records she set.

At the Final Four, Clark told reporters, “I hope they remember how we made them feel, how we brought joy to their lives, how we gave their families something to scream about. I hope all the boys and girls remember the joy that we played with and how we took 10 seconds of our time to sign their autograph and that inspired them to be whatever they want to be.”

Kevin Hieronymus has been the BCR Sports Editor since 1986. Contact him at

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