Basketball-First pick Clark ready for tough test in WNBA

By Thomson Reuters Apr 15, 2024 | 7:50 PM

By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Caitlin Clark was the queen of the collegiate game but expects a major test when she joins the Women’s National Basketball Association, the Iowa super star said on Monday, after going first in the WNBA Draft to the Indiana Fever.

The six-foot guard broke the all-time NCAA scoring record and sent television ratings skyrocketing during March Madness, with her splashy logo threes and astonishing passing ability captivating fans in the United States.

But “reality is coming” for the 22-year-old sharpshooter, 10 times All-Star Diana Taurasi warned during a recent ESPN appearance, promising a tough reception in the highest ranks of the women’s professional game.

Clark told reporters she was prepared for just that.

“The WNBA is so competitive right now. Every single time you step on the floor, it’s going to be a rivalry,” said Clark.

A sold-out crowd piled into the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Monday, leaving little doubt that Clark’s star power could endure as she makes the leap from college to the professional game.

Behind the fanfare, Clark said she would put in the work to earn her keep in the WNBA, where even first-round draft picks can find themselves on the chopping block in a matter of weeks.

“So many teams are loaded with so much talent, and this is the most competitive league in the entire world, less than 144 spots. So, you better bring it every single night,” said Clark. “I think that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

The WNBA regular season begins May 14.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)