WNBA Draft: Iowa star Caitlin Clark selected No. 1 overall by Indiana Fever

What’s been expected for months is now official: Caitlin Clark is headed to the Indiana Fever.

The Fever officially selected Clark with the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft in New York on Monday night. The two-time national player of the year is now the first Iowa Hawkeyes player, men’s or women’s, to ever be selected with the top pick in the draft.

Clark has long been expected to be the top pick in the draft, and it’s easy to see why. Clark set numerous records this past season while leading the Hawkeyes to a second straight national championship game — though they fell to Dawn Staley and South Carolina earlier this month. Clark became college basketball’s all-time men’s and women’s scoring leader, passed Chamique Holdsclaw to set the record for most career NCAA tournament points and she made more 3-pointers in a single season than any men’s or women’s Division I player, to name a few. While she didn’t win a championship — the Hawkeyes did win three straight Big Ten tournament titles with her — she undoubtedly put herself in the conversation for one of the best college players of all time.

Clark finished her college career averaging 31.6 points and 8.9 assists per game, both of which led the country.

Perhaps most notably, though, Clark completely changed women’s basketball across the board. She helped bring more attention to the sport than anyone who came before her, and the Hawkeyes set three straight viewership records to close out the season. Their national championship loss to the Gamecocks drew a record 18.7 million viewers. The game, which peaked at 24 million viewers, was the most-watched basketball game at any level since 2019. It also out-drew the men’s national championship game between UConn and Purdue by nearly 4 million viewers.

Naturally, both the WNBA and the Fever have been very prepared for her arrival. The Fever will have 36 of their 40 regular season games broadcast on national television this summer, and teams have been marketing games against Clark for quite some time now.

It’s finally official. Caitlin Clark is a member of the Indiana Fever.
It’s finally official. Caitlin Clark is a member of the Indiana Fever. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (Andy Lyons via Getty Images)

Clark will now turn her attention to the WNBA, where she’ll be tasked with helping the Fever turn their organization around. The Fever haven’t had a winning record since 2015, and they haven’t seen the playoffs since 2016. Since that last postseason berth, the Fever have had double-digit wins in a single season only twice — one of which was last year’s 13-27 campaign. Though she likely won’t be as dominant in the pros as she was in college, Clark will get to team up with former South Carolina star Aliyah Boston right away, which will undoubtedly make for a very fun duo to watch.

Regardless of how it goes on the court, Clark is already one of the most popular players in the entire WNBA, and she hasn’t played a single game yet.

WNBA Draft: First-Round Picks

After the Fever selected Clark, here’s a look at how the rest of the entire round shook out.

1. Indiana Fever | Caitlin Clark, Iowa

2. Los Angeles Sparks | Cameron Brink, Stanford

3. Chicago Sky | Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina

4. Los Angeles Sparks | Rickea Jackson, Tennessee

5. Dallas Wings | Jacy Sheldon, Ohio State

6. Washington Mystics | Aaliyah Edwards, UConn

7. Chicago Sky | Angel Reese, LSU

8. Minnesota Lynx | Alissa Pili, Utah

9. Dallas Wings | Carla Leite, France

10. Connecticut Sun | Leïla Lacan, France

11. New York Liberty | Marquesha Davis, Ole Miss

12. Atlanta Dream | Nyadiew Puoch, Australia

Iowa’s Kate Martin drafted in second round to Aces

Clark wasn’t the only Hawkeyes player selected in the draft on Monday night.

Teammate Kate Martin was selected by the Las Vegas Aces with the No. 18 overall pick, which made for quite the celebration at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Martin was in the crowd with other Hawkeyes players and coach Lisa Bluder to support Clark, and then ran down onto the floor after her name was called.

“I was here to support Caitlin, but I was hoping to hear my name called,” Martin said on ESPN. “All I wanted was an opportunity and I got it, so I’m really excited.”

This marks the first time since 1998 that the Hawkeyes have had two players selected in the same WNBA Draft.

Martin was a huge part of the Hawkeyes’ success that was largely centered around Clark. She redshirted her first season after tearing her ACL in her left knee, but she has been a key piece to their lineup ever since. Martin averaged a career-high 13.1 points and 6.8 rebounds last season, and she scored just shy of 1,300 career points at Iowa.

"I want to continue playing basketball," Martin said in March, via The Des Moines Register. "I hope I get an opportunity for a training camp. Or I hope I get drafted. I don't know. I hope that happens for me."

Though she’ll almost certainly go into coaching at some point, Martin’s playing career isn’t done just yet.