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Make it a double: AP selects Caitlin Clark as women’s basketball national player of the year
Iowa junior receives 20 of 28 votes from the Associated Press panel, the day after she wins the Naismith
DALLAS — Final Four week is awards week. In the latter, Caitlin Clark remains undefeated.
The Associated Press added another award to Clark’s quickly growing stack, announcing its honor Thursday at American Airlines Center.
A junior guard from the University of Iowa, Clark earned 20 the AP panel’s 28 votes, unseating 2022 winner Aliyah Boston of South Carolina.
Voting was done before the NCAA tournament.
Clark actually learned about the award March 7. The Iowa coaching staff told her she had won while they were visiting the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
“I went over there, thinking I was visiting a (child),” she said Thursday at American Airlines Center. “I didn’t think anything of it. Yeah, it was a very special moment.
The award comes a day after Clark won the Naismith Award. The third major honor, the Wooden Award, is yet to be announced.
The third-ranked Hawkeyes (30-6) meet No. 1 South Carolina (36-0) in a national semifinal in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament here Friday. Tipoff is slated for about 8:30 p.m.
Clark leads the nation’s most prolific offense, averaging 27.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game.
She leads Division I in several statistical categories, including assists per game (8.6), 3-pointers (127), and triple-doubles (five).
She has scored 30 or more points in 12 games, including three 40-point performances.
“I think the debate is really good for women's basketball,” Clark said last week at the regional tournament in Seattle. “But I think I'm focused on winning games and really — I understand the people that vote for those awards, those are just their opinions.”
Clark becomes Iowa’s second AP player of the year in five years. Megan Gustafson won the award in 2019.
Friday’s late game (Virginia Tech and LSU play in the other semifinal at 6 p.m.) will be a showcase of the nation’s best guard and the best post.
“Yeah, I mean, America gets to see two fabulous, spectacular basketball players in the same 40 minutes,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “It doesn't get a lot better than that.”
Earlier this week, South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley said about Clark: “Obviously we really haven't played against a player like Caitlin and her ability to have a big game, fill up the stat sheet.
“So obviously I think for us, we have to take something away, her ability to score in bunches or her ability to distribute the basketball. If you allow her to do that, they win every time.
“If Caitlin Clark is the Player of the Year, am I going to be mad? Absolutely not. She's a hell of a player.”
Indiana’s Teri Moren is the AP national coach of the year.