In a historic moment for women's basketball, the Indiana Fever embraced a new beacon of hope as Iowa women's basketball prodigy Caitlin Clark was picked first overall in the 2024 WNBA Draft on Monday. Amid the excitement, Clark's humility was on full display in a beautifully candid address, which captured the hearts of many and sparked a sense of anticipation for the Fever's future.

During an emotionally charged draft speech, Clark paid homage to Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder.

“I think the biggest thing is like we talked about this moment. We dreamed of this moment. But she also believed I would be here and she coached me really hard to get to this moment,” Clark said in a post-draft video posted on X, formerly Twitter, by Tyler Tachman of the Des Moines Register. “There was a lot of ups and downs and something I really appreciate about coach Bluder is like no matter what awards or success or wins we ever had or I had, she never stopped coaching me. She never stopped holding me accountable.”

After a phenomenal four-season tenure at Iowa, where she left as the all-time leading scorer across NCAA basketball, Clark is set to join forces with last year's top pick, Aliyah Boston, setting the stage for an intriguing Fever revival. As the draft's top pick, she brings with her a legion of fans and the expectations of a basketball community that has followed her record-shattering journey.

Caitlin Clark's impactful college career

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) shoots in the third quarter against the LSU Lady Tigers in the finals of the Albany Regional in the 2024 NCAA Tournament at MVP Arena.
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Clark's collegiate career was a tapestry of remarkable accomplishments, with an average of 28.4 points per game that soared to 31.6 in her senior year. She eclipsed Pete Maravich’s storied NCAA scoring record, amassing 3,951 points and landing 548 three-pointers — a testament to her impact on the court. Yet, it was her graciousness in the limelight that truly endeared her to fans and legends alike, with even South Carolina's Dawn Staley recognizing her as one of the greats.

Despite her team falling short of a national title, Clark's influence extended far beyond wins and losses, contributing to a national championship game that drew a record 18.7 million viewers, indicative of her immense draw and the so-called “Caitlin Clark Effect.” As she transitions to the professional stage, there is a palpable buzz that the allure and skill she brought to college basketball will energize the WNBA, a league already studded with luminaries.

Clark eager to play with professionals

Caitlin Clark signs autographs before the 2024 WNBA Draft.
© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Clark expressed her readiness to face the challenges ahead and her eagerness to embrace the professional arena.

“I know there’s probably going to be a learning curve, but I’ve always had confidence in myself and that’s always what I remind myself. You’re not here by accident,”  Clark said ahead of the draft to Today, per Scott Thompson of Fox Sports. “I think more than anything, I’m just really excited. This is a dream. This is something I wrote down on a piece of paper in the second grade.”

Meanwhile, her message to Hoosiers in Indiana fans was clear.

“Well, I know the Indiana Hoosiers didn't love me too much during my career. But hopefully, we can turn a lot of them into Fever fans, if they're not already,” Clark said, per Tachman. “Going to a state that supports not only basketball but women's basketball.”

As the Fever look to pivot from a challenging few seasons, with playoff hopes that have remained elusive since 2016, the arrival of Clark may herald the dawn of a new era for the team. With her prolific scoring ability, leadership qualities and fan base, Clark has the ability to transcend beyond just being the No. 1 draft pick – she could start a transformation for a franchise in need of inspiration and a league eager to elevate its profile.