Indiana Fever select Iowa’s Caitlin Clark No. 1 in 2024 WNBA draft

Indiana Fever select Iowa’s Caitlin Clark No. 1 in 2024 WNBA draft


NEW YORK — Caitlin Clark is officially a pro.

Clark, the record-breaking face of women’s college basketball, was selected No. 1 overall by the Indiana Fever in the 2024 WNBA draft Monday night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“I got a little anxious there before the pick,” Clark said with a laugh during an interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe. “I dreamed of this moment since I was in second grade, and it’s taken a lot of hard work, a lot of ups and downs, but more than anything, just trying to soak it in.”

Los Angeles chose Stanford‘s Cameron Brink at No. 2. She’ll get to stay in California and will give the Sparks a two-way player. The prolific scorer was also the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. The Sparks needed to replace franchise player Nneka Ogwumike, who left for Seattle in free agency.

Brink is the third Stanford player selected in the top two of the WNBA draft, joining Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike. The only college with more is UConn.

Chicago had the third pick, which the Sky used to select South Carolina‘s Kamilla Cardoso, the 2024 Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Cardoso’s 59.4% field goal percentage in 2023-24 led the SEC and ranked 15th overall in Division I. South Carolina has now had 11 players selected in the first round over the last 10 seasons, the second most of any program in draft history after UConn. .

The Sparks were back on the clock at No. 4 and chose Tennessee‘s Rickea Jackson, who was one of five SEC players to average at least 20 points and 5 rebounds in multiple seasons over the last 25 years. Jackson is one of two Tennessee players with 30 points and 10 rebounds in an NCAA tournament game, the other being Candace Parker, who began her career with the Sparks as well.

Ohio State guard Jacy Sheldon went fifth to the Dallas Wings, and the Washington Mystics took UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards at No. 6. Edwards put up career highs in both scoring (17.6 PPG) and rebounding (9.2 PPG) in 2023-24.

The Sky then traded up to seventh to select LSU star Angel Reese, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player during LSU’s national championship run in 2023. Reese had 61 double-doubles over the last two seasons, the most in Division I and second most in LSU history, trailing only Sylvia Fowles.

“I’m excited to play with Kamilla — I’ve been playing against her since high school,” said Reese, who is the highest pick LSU has had since Fowles in 2008 (second overall).

Clark, a 6-foot-0 guard and West Des Moines, Iowa, native enters the league on top of the world. A two-time national player of the year, Clark ended her collegiate career with 3,951 points, the most in men’s and women’s Division I history, while propelling the Iowa Hawkeyes to back-to-back national title game appearances, their first in program history.

Her logo 3-pointers, highlight-reel assists and offensive firepower (she averaged 31.6 points per game as a senior, and 28.4 points for her career) have drawn sellout crowds in Iowa City and on the road, while shattering television ratings across a multitude of television networks and streaming platforms along the way.

She has her own cereal box, State Farm commercials and just this past weekend appeared as herself on “Saturday Night Live.” Now, her biggest challenge, and biggest opportunity, awaits.

“I earned it, that’s why I’m so proud of it,” Clark told Rowe.

The Fever haven’t appeared in the playoffs since 2016, the legendary Tamika Catchings’ final season. But with Clark joining forces with last year’s No. 1 overall pick in Aliyah Boston, the pairing of generational powers seems destined to change the trajectory of the franchise — and possibly the league — for the years to come.

Winners of the 2012 WNBA title, Indiana has languished since Catchings’ retirement, sporting the worst winning percentage in the league since the start of the 2017 season despite selecting lottery picks in each of the last seven drafts. Four of those seven picks are no longer with the team.

Signs of progress emerged this past season with Boston, the franchise’s first-ever No. 1 pick, in tow, as they won 13 games, tied for the most since Catchings’ retirement. With Clark now in the mix, it seems well within reach for the franchise to snap what is currently the league’s longest active streak missing the playoffs.

Clark, the only Division I women’s player with more than 3,000 points and 1,000 assists, will have two similarly young but elite post targets in Boston, the reigning rookie of the year, and NaLyssa Smith, a 2022 lottery pick. After Clark developed strong chemistry with Iowa posts Monika Czinano and Hannah Stuelke, the connections she, Boston and Smith can form in Indianapolis are tantalizing prospects for Fever fans.

“The organization has one of the best post players in the entire world. My point guard eyes light up with that,” Clark said.

Clark will also share the backcourt with two veteran guards in Kelsey Mitchell, No. 4 on the NCAA Division I all-time scoring list and a top 3-point shooter in the league last season, as well as returning point guard Erica Wheeler.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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