Dawn Staley praises Caitlin Clark after South Carolina’s March Madness championship win

The debate over Caitlin Clark’s legacy will continue after Iowa fell to South Carolina in the national championship game, but Dawn Staley made sure her voice was heard on the topic during the trophy presentation ceremony. 

Staley went out of her way to congratulate Iowa for their season and called out Clark for her contributions to growing the game of women’s basketball. 

“I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for lifting up our sport,” Staley said. “She carried a heavy load for our sport and it’s just not going to stop here on the collegiate tour, but when she is the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, she’s going to lift up that league up as well. 

“Caitlin Clark, if you’re out there, you are one of the GOATs of our game and we appreciate you.” 

Clark has become one of the biggest names in basketball over the course of her career at Iowa and has broken a number of NCAA records along the way. 

She leaves the Hawkeyes as the all-time leading scorer — for both men’s and women’s college basketball — and has the most career points in NCAA Tournament history, while winning AP Player of the Year twice, Big Ten Player of the Year three times.

She was also part of two games this week that set viewership records


Dawn Staley
Dawn Staley reacts during the national championship game on April 7, 2024 . Getty Images

Caitlin Clark reacts during the national championship game on April 7, 2024 .
Caitlin Clark reacts during the national championship game on April 7, 2024 . Getty Images

“I think anytime someone like coach Staley is able to recognize you and what you did for the game is pretty special,” Clark told reporters after the game. “Obviously, she’s somebody I respect so much. I respect what she’s done for South Carolina. I respect what she did as a player for our game. Anytime you can get the praises of her is pretty special, so that means a lot.”

Clark is expected to be the top pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft that will be held later this month in Brooklyn and will be one of several highly talented players in this year’s draft class, which also includes LSU star Angel Reese and South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso. 

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