Who Is Caitlin Clark? WNBA Player Making Records, One Game At A Time

On May 28th, the Indiana Fever's early season woes continued with an 88-82 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks, but Caitlin Clark had her most explosive performance yet. She is also the fastest rookie in WNBA history to reach 100 points and 50 assists.

Shreya Mariam Vimal
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Image Source : Associated Press (Noah K. Murray)

Image Source : Associated Press (Noah K. Murray)

On May 28th, the Indiana Fever's early season woes continued with an 88-82 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks, but Caitlin Clark had her most explosive performance yet.  The No. 1 overall choice concluded the game with 30 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals, and three blocks, becoming the first rookie—and fourth overall—in WNBA history to go 30-5-5-3-3.  She is also the fastest rookie in WNBA history to reach 100 points and 50 assists.


Clark is currently at the centre of discussions on race and sports. A straight, white girl from Iowa, she first started turning heads with her explosive performance in college basketball leagues. It didn't take long before people started noticing. Now, she is on track to become a professional basketball player, and women's basketball is, for the first time in history, recording millions of viewers tuning in to watch her game. Many feel that her race makes her an easily marketable player, while others believe that she deserves everything she has achieved

Threat of Suspension 

However, Clark is treading on thin ice with the WNBA as she risks facing suspension due to accumulating technical fouls this season.During a recent game against the Seattle Storm, Clark engaged in a heated confrontation with guard Victoria Vivians, resulting in both players receiving double technical fouls. This incident marked Clark's third technical foul within the first nine games of her WNBA career.

According to WNBA regulations, players face a one-game suspension upon receiving their seventh technical foul of the season, with additional suspensions imposed for every subsequent technical foul thereafter. Following the recent altercation, Fever head coach Christie Sides was also penalized with a technical foul after Clark was seemingly fouled near the basket without a call from the referees.

Expressing her frustration, Clark stated to reporters that she felt unfairly targeted and subjected to physical play without receiving proper calls from the officials. “I feel like I’m getting hammered, I don’t know,” Clark said in a statement on Thursday after one asked about her and Vivians jawing at each other. 

Who Is Caitlin Clark?


Clark was born on January 22, 2002, in Iowa, with an early interest in basketball. She used to play in boys' recreational basketball leagues, as well as other sports such as golf and softball, but started to focus exclusively on basketball by age 13. In sixth grade, Clark joined the All Iowa Attack, an amateur basketball programme where she was trained rigorously. She was inspired by Maya Moore, an iconic women's basketball player who was inducted into the Women's Basketball Player Hall of Fame earlier this year. Clark has also played with future Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) player Ashley Jones.

Clark played for Dowling Catholic High School for four years and in her sophomore year, she was ranked as the best high school basketball player by ESPN. By the time she graduated from high school, she was ranked as a five-star recruit. After graduation, she decided to play for Iowa State, stating that she admired the team's style of offense and the head coach's approach. In her freshman year, she helped her team reach a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Tournament. By her senior year, Clark was named the national player of the year for the second time in a row and received multiple awards, such as the Honda Sports Awards, the AP Player of the Year award, and the Nancy Lieberman Award.

On April 15 of this year, Clark was selected by the Indiana Fever to play for the WNBA. Credited with popularizing women's basketball again, Clark has given rise to what is now known as the "Caitlin Clark Effect." In 2023, over 500,000 people watched the WNBA, and within a year, that number had risen to 2.45 million. Clark's team sold out tickets to all of their home games, a phenomenon that rarely happens. The "Caitlin Clark Effect" has led to an unprecedented rise in popularity for the game, specifically women's basketball. Bloomberg calls  Clark "the biggest thing to have happened to Indiana Fever," and the LA Times refers to her as "the Taylor Swift of jump shots."

The Questions Of Race And Sports

Clark is a prodigy worthy of being called a "generational talent." But she was hardly the first to become so. And she definitely is not without competition. And yet, no one has created quite the wave that Caitlyn has, not even her idol, Maya Moore. 

Many believe that race has a role to play in all this. "A lot of people say it's not black and white, but to me, it is.", Las Vegas forward A'ja Wilson told the Associated Press. "They don't see (black women) as marketable, so it doesn't matter how hard I work...That's why it boils my blood when people say it's not about race." 


But C refuses to take part in this discourse about race. 

"I think there's opportunities for every single player in women's basketball," Clark remarked at a press conference before her WNBA debut on Tuesday night. "I think the more opportunities we can give across the board, that's what's going to elevate women's basketball."

While Caitlyn's breakthrough is certainly worth celebrating for the strides it is making to popularise women's sports, the debate about racial inequity remains a nagging concern. While the "Caitlyn Clark Effect" would go down in history, the parallel conversations would be about why there aren't any "Maya Moore" or "Candace Parker" impacts. Visibility in a sport dominated by women of colour and members of the LGBTQ community remains challenging for those who are not white or straight.

Caitlyn Clark WNBA Women's Basketball