Caitlin Clark’s 3-word farewell to Iowa after title loss

Caitlin Clark posts bittersweet goodbye on Instagram following Iowa’s National Championship loss.

Caitlin Clark throws up peace sign

Sports is unfair, and even the best athletes in the world come up short sometimes. Iowa women’s basketball superstar Caitlin Clark capped off a historically dominant collegiate career Sunday, but still couldn’t bring home the hardware.

Clark posted “I’ll miss ya” on her Instagram story following the Hawkeyes’ 85-75 loss to South Carolina in the National Championship, complete with yellow heart emojis, her jersey and one of her sneakers. The message marks a bittersweet moment, as this is now her second consecutive loss in the title game.

With the all-time NCAA scoring leader now departing for the WNBA Draft, let’s look back at how the sharpshooter revolutionized women’s basketball.

Caitlin Clark made Iowa women’s basketball proud

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) shoots the ball as South Carolina Gamecocks guard Bree Hall (23) defends during the NCAA Tournament championship basketball game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Sunday, April 7, 2024 in Cleveland.© Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK
Caitlin Clark’s dynamic scoring prowess captured the attention of the basketball world, putting even more eyes on the women’s game than the men’s. Iowa’s Final Four victory over UConn pulled in 14.2 million viewers, a women’s college hoops record and a higher figure than every NBA Finals and World Series game last year.

The game even peaked at 17 million viewers, and was the second-best non-football telecast in the network’s history. For reference, last year’s men’s collegiate final between UConn and San Diego State averaged a record-low 14.79 million viewers. This is significant, as the men’s game has historically dominated the women’s in revenue and viewership. Clark’s dominance has been instrumental in gaining the women’s game more respect, and will undoubtedly increase its popularity at both the NCAA and WNBA levels.

Additionally, her iconic performances have already inspired future generations. While the viewership numbers for this year’s final haven’t been released, her influence was clear after last year’s title-game loss to LSU. Google searches regarding girls youth basketball skyrocketed following the contest, which boasted a then-record peak of 12.6 million viewers, via World Sports Network (WSN).

“Following the end of the event, Google searches for “girls basketball clubs” in the USA shot up by 305% and 236% worldwide,” said Christian Jope of WSN. “In particular, Iowa State saw the highest increase in searches, most likely due to the phenomenal performance of the Hawkeyes in the final. Significantly, Caitlin Clark saw searches for her name rise by 476% worldwide, becoming an idol for many young and aspiring athletes.”

The importance of this cannot be understated, as superstars are always driving forces in pushing their respective sports forward. Every sport needs star power, players who capture the hearts of fans around the world with their generational talent. Even though Clark wasn’t able to bring Iowa a championship, it doesn’t matter. Her being an inspiration to young girls around the world to pursue basketball is more than enough.

Thankfully, Clark is just getting started, as she’ll most likely continue to dominate in the WNBA. This will in turn will keep inspiring the youth, thus growing the girls game for decades to come. In a traditionally male-dominated sports landscape, it’s never been a better time to be a fan of women’s sports.

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