Iowa women’s basketball star Caitlin Clark and arguably the most well-known modern-day college basketball player is set to begin a new chapter in her basketball career after being the No. 1 pick by the Indiana Fever Monday in the 2024 WNBA Draft.

Clark, whose college games transfixed the nation, will bring her exceptional talent to a franchise eager to ascend to new heights.

The prodigy from West Des Moines

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) reacts as confetti falls after Iowa wins the Big Ten Tournament championship game
© Lily Smith/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Caitlin Clark grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa, and began playing basketball at the age of 5, notably competing in boys’ recreational leagues.

Clark attended Dowling Catholic High School where she became a standout player. She averaged over 15 points per game as a freshman and quickly became a local sensation (h/t Walter Villa of ESPN). By her sophomore year, she was averaging 27.1 points per game.

Her high school career was marked with several awards, including multiple Class 5A All-State honors and being named Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year twice. Her senior year saw her average a staggering 33.4 points per game, cementing her reputation as one of the top high school talents in the nation (per Gatorade).

Caitlin Clark's college career highlighted by record-breaking games 

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.
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Choosing to stay close to home, Clark attended the University of Iowa, where she left a lasting legacy on the Hawkeyes program. Over her four-year tenure, she started in all 139 games she played.

Her freshman year saw her lead NCAA Division I in scoring, averaging 26.6 points per game, a figure she would go on to surpass in the following years, culminating in a staggering 31.6 points per game during her senior year. Averaging 8.9 assists per game in her final season, Clark was not just a scorer but a visionary, setting her teammates up with impressive precision. Her rebounding skills, with a 7.4 per game in her senior season, rounded out her all-around game (h/t ESPN).

Clark also smashed records, passing Pete Maravich’s scoring record to become the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer, and was also named a two-time national player of the year.

Outlook with the WNBA and the Indiana Fever

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) controls the ball against UConn Huskies guard Paige Bueckers (5)
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The transition from college to professional play is a significant leap. For Caitlin Clark, being the Fever's No. 1 draft pick carries the weight of expectations and the promise of a generational talent set to make her mark on the WNBA. Clark brings a game-changing presence to the court, evidenced by her college games.

The Fever's selection of Clark isn't just a nod to her potential; it is an acknowledgment of her impact. Her arrival has already sparked an uptick in interest and ticket sales for Indiana, indicative of her appeal and the excitement she generates. With her commanding height of 6 feet and a skill set that includes scoring from anywhere on the floor, Clark is poised to become a central figure in the Fever's strategy. Her past success, partnered with the Fever's vision and last year’s first-round pick, Aliyah Boston, could herald a new era for the team.

As the WNBA evolves, rookies like Clark face a league of seasoned professionals, and it is here where the true test lies. Greats like Diana Taurasi have already signaled the challenge ahead — the league will test Clark's mettle. With her competitive spirit and game intelligence, Clark is set to adapt and rise to the occasion. Off the court, her influence on the game is palpable, with the “Caitlin Clark Effect” driving national visibility and ticket sales — a positive sign not just for the Fever but for women's basketball as a whole.

The Caitlin Clark Effect: Transforming the WNBA

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark signs autographs for fans during the Hawkeye Showcase

Caitlin Clark's impact transcends her games. Her arrival in the WNBA is expected to bring a transformative energy to the league and the Fever. The excitement around Clark is palpable, driving up ticket prices and sparking a surge in interest. Her ability to draw crowds, home and away, and on television, signals what could be the beginning of a new chapter in women's basketball.

Clark's presence is expected to elevate the Fever's playing style, bringing a fresh dynamism to the team. Her remarkable scoring and assisting abilities will undoubtedly make her a cornerstone of the team's strategy, and her performance will be pivotal to the Fever's success. The WNBA, known for its fiercely competitive nature, will be an ultimate proving ground for Clark and her talent. The anticipation is high, and the expectations are even higher — but Clark seems destined to meet and exceed them.

The Fever, with Clark at the helm, look forward to a rookie season that promises to be as thrilling as it is transformative. With the “Caitlin Clark Effect” in full force, the Fever's games are set to become more than just sporting events, showcasing the best of what women's basketball has to offer.