Iowa Hawkeyes women’s basketball star Caitlin Clark has dazzled fans with her on-court heroics for multiple seasons. On Sunday, Clark added another signature moment in her collegiate story.
Clark sparked an 86-85 comeback victory against No. 2 Indiana at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The junior guard scored 34 points, but it was her final shot that sent shockwaves through the building. With 1.5 seconds remaining, Clark drilled a step-back, 3-point shot to lift Iowa to the upset.
The shot was high-level mastery. Clark came off two screens and had just enough time to get a good look at the basket. The off-balance shot fell through as Clark sprinted to celebrate with the Hawkeyes student section.
When asked after the game, Clark said she knew the shot was good as it left her hands.
“Honestly, I thought it was money,” Clark told ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe. “When I saw it go through the rim, I was excited.”
So how did the play develop? Here is an inside look at the Clark’s game-winning shot.
Iowa traded leads with its Big Ten rival all afternoon. Indiana took a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter after Hoosiers standout Mackenzie Holmes made two free throws. It gave Indiana an 85-83 lead with 1.5 seconds remaining.
Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder called timeout to draw up the final play. The Hawkeyes were able to advance the basketball to halfcourt when play resumed.
Bluder took a page out of the Las Vegas Aces playbook. The WNBA powerhouse inspired the last shot that put Clark in the middle of the action. The plan was simple. Clark would start near the baseline and utilize two screens for the shot.
The play had a couple alternatives. Clark was the primary look but there was an option to get a quick layup at the rim. It all revolved around Hawkeyes forward Monika Czinano setting the screen.
“I remember in practice not setting (the screen) great and her not getting the shot,” Czinano told reporters. “I knew that was going to have to be there. I told her in the huddle, ‘Really wait for it, let me come get there.’ And it just worked out perfectly.”
Clark mentioned she had practiced the shot a million times. She reflected on visualizing the shot in the driveway growing up with her brothers. Like any kid with hoop dreams, the game-winning shot and ensuing crowd reactions was pure elation.
On Sunday, Clark soaked in the moment as the dream came true.
“Those are the situations you dream of,” Clark said. “I’m lucky enough to be able to do it for this team, and in front of 15,000 people that want to come scream about it.”
Clark showed raw emotions as she celebrated the shot. It was the culmination of hard work in practice and trust in her teammates to get the job done.
“To be able to do it for this team on Senior Day, against the No. 2 team in the country, it meant a lot,” Clark said. “It’s for our seniors more than anything.”
Several fans enjoyed the sensational moment. Here are some of the best reactions of Clark’s game-winning shot.