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As the university reveals that Caitlin Clark’s jersey number will be retired, she bids farewell to Iowa supporters.

This season, Clark surpassed all previous major college basketball scorers. She was recognized alongside her teammates in a ceremony honoring the Hawkeyes’ second consecutive national runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament.

IOWA CITY, Iowa: On Wednesday, Caitlin Clark had her last opportunity to bid Iowa supporters farewell, and naturally, a sizable audience was present.

Along with her teammates, Clark became the all-time leading scorer in major college basketball this season and was named the unanimous national player of the year. The celebration took place at Iowa’s home arena to honor the Hawkeyes’ second consecutive national runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament.

“I think you guys have inspired me just as much as I have inspired you,” Clark remarked to the roughly 8,000 spectators at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa. And you made it possible for me to fulfill my dream every single day; I’m incredibly grateful for that. I will always consider this place to be home because it has been so special.

Clark finished her career with 3,951 points and 1,144 assists. She was an All-American in every season of her career, which began when she played in front of small crowds during her freshman year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Clark is predicted to be the Indiana Fever’s first overall pick in Monday’s WNBA Draft.

When Iowa sports director Beth Goetz announced that Clark’s jersey number 22, which is the third to be retired in program history, he was met with a standing ovation.

Goetz told Clark, “I think they like you,” following the news.

“I’m really grateful for it; it’s really amazing,” Clark remarked. “There have been many excellent 22s who have performed for this show before me, such Sam Logic and Kathleen Doyle. That figure is significant in ways that go far beyond me. It will be a memorable day when it occurs, and I sincerely appreciate it.”

The Hawkeyes’ consecutive journeys to the national championship game were dubbed “special” by Iowa coach Lisa Bluder.

Because no one believed we could pull it off, this year’s was extra spectacular, the speaker stated. “Except for these women up here, nobody thought we could repeat what we did last year.”

The fact that the Hawkeyes have been able to attract large audiences this season made the attendance at the event not surprising.

During the regular season, the Hawkeyes drew 238,620 spectators to all of their home games, and that number does not include the 55,646 spectators who attended the women’s basketball single-game attendance record-setting “Crossover at Kinnick” outdoor exhibition game in October at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium.

Additionally, Iowa sold out both of its home NCAA tournament games; with 28,764 attendees over the course of the weekend, it was the most of any first-round site in the women’s tournament.

Bluder said, “Please come back next year.” “Next year, please pack Carver-Hawkeye Arena.”

Before the concert even began, fans were forming a line outside the venue and scrambling to get a seat when the doors opened.

It was Angie Leyh’s birthday, and she brought her 10-year-old daughter Lana from Atlantic, Iowa, to the celebration.

The Leyhs had only attended one game this season—Iowa’s NCAA Tournament opening match against Holy Cross—but they made the three-hour trek to return once again when Angie discovered the event would take place on her daughter’s birthday.

Leyh stated, “We were going to drop everything to make sure she could be here,” as her daughter displayed a placard with her birthday wish list and requested to meet Clark or, at the absolute least, have a picture or autograph signed. “This is all very amazing.”

Like she often does after games, Clark walked around the arena floor signing autographs following the event. During the occasion, she talked about how, as children, she and her two brothers looked up to athletes.

She remarked, “I wanted to be like them.” “Those were the people who gave me the freedom to dream and experience such moments.”

Leyh was aware of the significance that her daughter, whose sign also read, “I want to be just like you,” took from the Hawkeyes’ recent victory.

According to Leyh, “it’s a dream come true, and it’s made her dream bigger.”

Written by schooleiwa

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