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Fever select Caitlin Clark with No. 1 pick in WNBA Draft

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Eight days after completing one of the greatest collegiate basketball careers ever recorded, Caitlin Clark was selected with the No. 1 pick in Monday’s WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever.

Clark is poised to not only help the Fever return to the postseason for the first time since 2016, but also use her star power to jolt the WNBA at a critical juncture in its history.

“I think more than anything I’m just really excited,” Clark told NBC News this past weekend.

Clark achieved historic levels of success over her four seasons at Iowa. She scored 3,951 points — the most ever in NCAA men’s or women’s Division I history. She also broke the record for 3-pointers in a single season, made two national championship appearances and twice was named the National Player of the Year.

Those are just some of her accolades from a career that was so prolific that Iowa announced last week — not even a week after her college career ended — it will retire her No. 22 jersey.

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Clark often performed in front of sellout crowds and her games shattered television viewing records. South Carolina’s win over Iowa in the 2024 national championship was seen on ABC by 18.9 million viewers, with a peak audience of 24.1 million — a 90 percent increase from the 2023 title game and a 289 percent increase from 2022. The game broke viewership records that had been set only days before in Iowa’s Elite Eight matchup against LSU.

Even Monday’s draft at the Brooklyn Academy of Music was expected to break the event’s ratings record.

Anticipation for Clark’s arrival to the WNBA elevated interest in Indiana. Thirty-six Fever games — 90 percent of its schedule — will air on national television this upcoming season, one more than the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces.

According to ticket marketplace Vivid Seats, as of Wednesday, the average price for Indiana tickets increased 190 percent since last season. Ticket sales spiked soon after the Fever won the draft lottery in December, even though Clark had not yet declared if she would turn pro or return to Iowa for a final season of eligibility.

On Feb. 29, just days before Iowa’s final regular-season home game, Clark announced her decision to enter the WNBA Draft. Within minutes, Indiana, which had won just 18 games total in the past two seasons, reminded fans to buy season tickets with a social media post that read, “Hop on board.” They continued to hint at her selection, tweeting as recently as Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET, that only 22 hours remained until the Draft — a reference to Clark’s number.

On Monday night, the waiting concluded as Clark joined the franchise, where she will pair with last year’s No. 1 pick, reigning Rookie of the Year Aliyah Boston, from South Carolina. Clark’s celebrity was prominent throughout the weekend, highlighted by an appearance on Saturday Night Live. But long before she thought about appearing on comedy shows or selling out arenas, she dreamed of playing in the WNBA.

In elementary school, she wrote down one of her future goals: to make the WNBA. On Monday night, that aspiration became a reality.

WNBA Draft first-round results

  1. Caitlin Clark, G, Iowa — Indiana Fever
  2. Cameron Brink, F, Stanford — Los Angeles Sparks
  3. Kamilla Cardoso, C, South Carolina — Chicago Sky (via Phoenix Mercury)
  4. Rickea Jackson, F, Tennessee — Los Angeles Sparks (via Seattle Storm)
  5. Jacy Sheldon, G, Ohio State — Dallas Wings, (via Chicago Sky)
  6. Aaliyah Edwards, F, UConn — Washington Mystics
  7. Angel Reese, F, LSU — Chicago Sky (via Minnesota Lynx)
  8. Alissa Pili, F, Utah — Minnesota Lynx (via Atlanta Dream)
  9. Carla Leite, G, Tarbes (France) — Dallas Wings
  10. Leila Lacan, G, Angers (France) — Connecticut Sun
  11. Marquesha Davis, G, Ole Miss — New York Liberty
  12. Nyadiew Puoch, F, Southside Flyers (Australia) — Atlanta Dream (via Las Vegas Aces)



WNBA Draft 2024: Angel Reese picked No. 7 by Chicago

Results from the second and third rounds can be found here.

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(Photo: Sarah Stier / Getty Images)

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