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Iowa star Caitlin Clark declares for WNBA draft, will skip final season of college eligibility

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa star Caitlin Clark, who is on the verge of becoming the all-time NCAA scoring leader in college basketball, announced Thursday she will leave the Hawkeyes after this season and enter the WNBA draft.

“While this season is far from over and we have a lot more goals to achieve, it will be my last one at Iowa,” Clark wrote on social media.

Clark has become the focal point of women’s basketball, with her flashy play and 3-point shot, often from the on-court logo. Many players would be benched for shooting from so far out, but Clark has the green light from her coach and has delivered while also finding her teammates and hitting the boards.

The guard, with one more year of eligibility, became the all-time leading women’s scorer in major college basketball by scoring 33 points to pass Lynette Woodard and post her 17th career triple-double in a 108-60 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday night.

In her announcement, she thanked her teammates, coaches and the thousands of fans who have packed arenas across the country to watch her and the sixth-ranked Hawkeyes.

Those fans were chanting “One more year! One more year!” while Clark was being interviewed on the court Wednesday night, when she also broke the NCAA single-season record by sinking eight 3-pointers for a total of 156.

She has 3,650 career points. Woodard had 3,649 points for Kansas from 1977-81, before the NCAA sanctioned the sport. Earlier this month, Clark broke Kelsey Plum’s NCAA scoring record (3,527 points).

Next up is the overall NCAA scoring record of Pete Maravich, who is just 17 points ahead of her.

Clark is expected to be the top pick in the draft on April 15.

The Indiana Fever, who have the first pick, indicated on social media shortly after Clark’s announcement that they intend to select her.

“We’re just simply reminding you that there are only 46 days until the 2024 WNBA Draft,” the team posted after dropping a link to its game tickets and a conspicuous “No. 1.”

The Fever had the first pick in last year's draft as well. They selected Aliyah Boston out of South Carolina. The forward is averaging 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.

The two former Associated Press players of the year sat down for an interview with NBC Sports in October.

“Well, the Indiana Fever could have the first pick, so people may, may or not, may not, maybe will, have the duo. I don't know?” Clark said to a laughing Boston. “It remains to be seen. But me and Aliyah may be teammates at some point, you never know.”

Clark went on to say in the interview that “your time in college is so special and it's different from being a pro.”

“I want to experience every single moment and really soak it in,” she said.

Clark's final regular-season home game at Iowa is likely to bring one of the priciest tickets in women’s college basketball history.

The cheapest ticket listed Thursday on TickPick.com for the Sunday game against No. 2 Ohio State was $481.

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AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball

Hank Kurz Jr., The Associated Press