The Caitlin Clark Show Rolls On

One way to view the meteoric growth of women’s college basketball is through the career arc of its current protagonist: Caitlin Clark, the University of Iowa’s stone-cold mad bomber.

Her first college game came in an eerily quiet setting: no fans, players spaced out on bleachers and some wearing masks to protect against the coronavirus. Eventually that season, the atmosphere livened up with cardboard cutouts in the seats.

Her last game will come this weekend in an altogether different environment: a packed-to-the-rafters arena in Cleveland that will roar with her every touch, untold millions tuning in on television and Clark as a million-dollar pitch woman starring in national commercials.

Clark’s chase for the only real achievement that has eluded her — a national championship — continued Monday night. It did so in poetic fashion, at the expense of the antagonist who has ridden shotgun with her across a national stage for the last year: Louisiana State’s Angel Reese, her unapologetic, trash-talking nemesis.

The early rematch of last year’s national championship game ended fittingly, with the ball in Clark’s hands as she dribbled out the final seconds of Iowa’s 94-87 regional final victory over L.S.U. that was covered, as usual, in her fingerprints.

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