After a senior season that attracted the nation, Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark was taken first overall in the 2024 WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever. Her jump to the professional level comes after falling to South Carolina in the Hawkeye’s second straight national championship game and setting the all-time NCAA scoring record with 3,951 points.

“I think the biggest thing is, I vividly remember coach [Lisa] Bluder during my home visit in my recruiting. … Sometime during my junior year, I think the biggest thing is that we talked about this moment,” Clark said after being selected. “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 has set the college basketball world on fire over the past two years with her deep three-point shooting and infectious energy both on and off the court. Now, she goes pro and joins a Fever team that had a 13-27 record last year and has yet to have a winning season since 2016. With Clark’s arrival, Indiana will now have 36 of its 40 games on national television or streaming platforms.

“That’s definitely our goal is to get back to championship habits,” Clark said. “I’m very lucky to be going there to an organization that really loves women’s basketball. You see it today: I think they had 17,000 tickets claimed to just watch the Draft. I think that shows the excitement in Indianapolis.”

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Clark arrives at the Fever to join forces with last year’s first overall pick, Aliyah Boston, who earned the honor of 2023 Rookie of the Year. With Clark and Boston playing together for the first time since joining Team USA’s U-19 national team, the young duo will undoubtedly make for exciting games and perhaps more wins.

“Like I said, as a point guard, my biggest job is, I’m just feeding Aliyah the ball every single day,” Clark said. “That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to be in there and be like, go make a layup. She’s going to make my life easy.”

Even with Clark yet to play a game, ticket prices have risen dramatically for entrance into a Fever game in 2024. Last year, ticket prices averaged around $45-$50, but now prices are closer to the $150-$250 starting range. A single-seat ticket for Indiana’s first game of the season against the Minnesota Lynx is selling for at least $230, while court-side tickets are going for more than $1,400.

It isn’t just ticket prices that are rising, but also the popularity and viewership of the WNBA as a whole. Monday night’s Draft, which saw Clark selected first, was the most-viewed WNBA telecast since 2000, with an average of 2.45 million viewers. It had more than four times the number of viewers from last year’s Draft and was viewed by more people than the most-watched WNBA game ever.

Clark was the biggest name in the Draft, and the record-breaking viewership numbers could also be due to the large number of high-level women’s college basketball stars who are now moving to the professional ranks. Behind Clark, Stanford’s Cameron Brink was selected second overall by the Los Angeles Sparks, South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso was picked third by the Chicago Sky and LSU’s Angel Reese went seventh overall, also landing in Chicago.

Clark was a human highlight film in her four years at Iowa, but as she moves to the WNBA, many question whether she can continue giving those performances. Her first game is against the Lynx on July 14, and millions of viewers will undoubtedly tune in to watch.

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