After scoring 191 points in last year’s NCAA tournament — which broke the men’s and women’s scoring record for a single tournament — the expectations for Iowa’s Caitlin Clark entering her senior season were sky high.
As she rose to prominence last season, leading the Hawkeyes to their first championship appearance in program history, Clark did so while winning all the major national Player of the Year awards, including the AP Player of the Year, Honda Sports Award, John R. Wooden Award, Naismith College Player of the Year, USBWA National Player of the Year, and Wade Trophy. She was the first Big Ten player to win unanimous National Player of the Year. Clark also won the Nancy Lieberman Award for a second time and became the first player to win the Dawn Staley Award three times.
So, it would be hard to follow that up, right?
Well, you’d be wrong.
Clark’s encore continued on Thursday, as the 21-year-old senior recorded 44 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, as No. 3 Iowa narrowly defeated No. 8 Virginia Tech, 80-76. She went 13-of-31 from the field and made 13-of-17 free throw attempts. It was another notch in the belt for Clark, who continues to form a legacy in not just Iowa City, but around the country.
And if they weren’t already — many around the country, including Virginia Tech’s head coach — have taken notice.
“She is a generational player and we are going to watch this young lady play for a very long time and she is going to play at a very high level,” Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks said, via ESPN.
Clark is different. There’s no question about that. And the reactions on social media reflected her tremendous performance.
Caitlin Clark is picking up right where she left off last season. (THREAD)
The presumed #1 pick for ‘24 as of now is averaging through two games: 36.0 PPG | 7.5 RPG | 8.0 APG
Clark has range & accuracy with a quick 1-motion shot. Giving up space/going under screens is a no-no: pic.twitter.com/qGLDtrBcxu
— Alford Corriette (@alfcorriette) November 10, 2023
40-point games vs. AP Top 10 opponents, since 2021-22:
— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) November 10, 2023
Caitlin Clark now has 5 career games with 40 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, including 3 against AP Top-10 opponents.
Since her career began, the rest of Division I has 3 such games, period. pic.twitter.com/dPOhQhe7Vw
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 10, 2023
It is amazing watching my kids watch Caitlin Clark. Outside of Bluey, it is the only thing we can watch together as a family without someone complaining.
— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) November 10, 2023
Caitlin Clark scores 44 of her teams 80 points in their second game of the season. an Iowa women's hoops ticket is worth its weight in gold right now.
— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) November 10, 2023
2nd game of the year, playing the #8 team in the country. Caitlin Clark is still different.
44 points | 8 rebounds | 6 assists pic.twitter.com/ag7yCjEJZf
— Teg🚨 (@IQfor3) November 10, 2023
I’m drinking some Wade Rose Wine and watching women’s college hoops! Caitlin Clark is simply good at basketball! That’s all…
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) November 10, 2023
I am not being dramatic at all (like I’m being so serious) watching Caitlin Clark play in person is a life-changing event and if she is playing in your city please go see her
— Lucy Rohden (@lucy_rohden) November 10, 2023
Caitlin Clark's one-legged fadeaway here is dirty pic.twitter.com/aKSSrvROIw
— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) November 10, 2023
Folks, this is what we call “generational.”