IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark has been named the 2021 Dawn Staley Award recipient, the Phoenix Club of Philadelphia announced Friday.
Clark is the first freshman to earn the Dawn Staley award given to the best all-around guard in women’s basketball.
“It’s always a special day when we give out the Dawn Staley Award, but I absolutely love that this year it’s going to be a freshman because it means fans of our game get to watch Caitlin Clark, an absolute star for so many years,” Dawn Staley said. “Caitlin Clark is so talented. She can score from anywhere, has incredible vision for someone so young and is a relentless defender. Those of us who pay attention to this game have known about her for some time, but the world is now getting to see what she can do on the biggest of stages. Caitlin is going to be a huge part of women’s basketball for a long time and I couldn’t be more proud that she is the recipient of this year’s Dawn Staley Award.”
Clark averaged 26.6 points, 7.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game in 30 games this season. She set the Iowa freshman record with 26.6 points per game (men’s or women’s), recorded the fourth-highest points per game in single season in Iowa history (men’s or women’s), and was the 2020-21 NCAA Division I scoring leader (men’s or women’s). She is the only Division I student-athlete to record 12, 30-point games this season — the most by an NCAA Division I freshman since 2000.
Clark led Hawkeyes to the Sweet Sixteen after not being projected to make the NCAA field of 68 at the beginning of the season. It marked the program’s eighth Sweet Sixteen appearance, and its third in its last four NCAA Tournament appearances.
The freshman led the nation in total assists (214), total points (799), points per game (26.6), field goals made (266), 3-pointers made (116), and ranked second in assists per game (7.1) and 3-pointers per game (3.87).
The West Des Moines, Iowa, native broke the Iowa women’s basketball record for points scored in a freshman campaign with 799 points and ranks third all-time at Iowa for points in a single season behind Megan Gustafson’s junior and senior seasons. She also broke Iowa’s all-time freshman assist record with 214 on the season, surpassing former Hawkeye Kathleen Doyle, who recorded 148 assists during her freshman campaign in 2016-17. She ranks fourth all-time at Iowa for assists in a single season.
NATIONAL AWARDS TRACKER
- Dawn Staley Award Winner (April 2)
- WBCA Co-Freshman of the Year (March 30)
- The Athletic’s Co-Freshman of the Year (March 25)
- Named to The Athletic All-America Team (March 25)
- WBCA All-Region Team (March 24)
- USBWA Tamika Catchings National Freshman of the Week (Jan. 5, Feb. 17, Feb. 23, and March 2)
- NCAA Starting Five (Dec. 9, Dec. 30, Feb. 17, March 3)
- ESPN National Player of the Week (Dec. 14) — the first Big Ten freshman to earn the award.