DALLAS — University of Iowa junior Caitlin Clark has been named the 2023 Associated Press Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year. The announcement was made on Thursday by the AP.
She received 20 votes from the 28-member national media panel that votes on the AP Top 25 each week. Voting was done before the NCAA Tournament began.
Clark is the second Hawkeye, and Big Ten student-athlete, to earn the distinction since the award was established in 1995. Iowa’s Megan Gustafson was the recipient of the national award after her historic season in 2019.
The most dominant player in women’s college basketball, Clark has already been recognized as the 2023 Naismith Trophy and The Athletic National Player of the Year, as well as being voted a Big Ten Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. A unanimous first team Associated Press and All-Big Ten honoree, Clark also excels in the classroom being voted the 2023 Academic All-American of the Year. Clark is also a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, Wade Trophy, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Dawn Staley and Nancy Lieberman awards.
“It’s a huge honor. I picked a place that I perfectly fit into and that’s allowed me to show my skill set. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t mean something. It’s not the reason you play basketball, it’s just something that comes along with getting to do what you love.”Caitlin Clark
Clark has captivated audiences with her style of play, posting unprecedented numbers of 984 points, 311 assists, 262 rebounds, 127 three-pointers, 56 steals and 20 blocks in leading the Hawkeyes to a historic season. She is the first Division I women’s basketball player to record more than 900 points and 300 assists in the same season. Her 984 points are sixth most in Division I history and second most in a single season in Big Ten history (1,001 by Gustafson in 2019).
The West Des Moines, Iowa, native has registered +25 points, +5 rebounds and +5 assists in 18 games this year (most in Division I) and 40 times in her career; most in NCAA women’s basketball history.
Clark leads the nation’s best offense averaging 27.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game. She accounts for 57 percent of Iowa’s offensive output in points and assists.
“Caitlin is spectacular. I don’t know how else to describe what she does on the basketball court,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder.
She leads Division I in several statistical categories including assists per game (8.6), three-pointers made (127), and triple-doubles (5). She has scored 30 or more points in 12 games, including three 40-point performances. Clark broke Iowa’s junior single season records in scoring and assists. She also became the Big Ten single season statistical champion in assists (311).
In Iowa’s four NCAA Tournament games this March, Clark is averaging 30 points, 11 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 4.8 three-pointers and 2.5 steals.
In Iowa’s last outing against Louisville, Clark recorded her 11th career triple-double totaling 41 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. She became the first player in NCAA Tournament history to record a 40-point triple-double. The 41-point performance ties for the third most points scored in NCAA Tournament Regional Final history. Her 41 points and eight 3-pointers made are Iowa NCAA Tournament single game records.
“It’s funny, because the better the opponent, almost the better she plays,” Bluder said. “It’s like she locks in on those, when we’re playing against Top 25 teams. That’s when her statistics even go up even more, against great opponents.”
Clark and the second-ranked Iowa women’s basketball team (30-6) will face top-ranked South Carolina (36-0) on Friday in the national semifinals at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Tipoff is scheduled for approximately 8:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on ESPN and broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network.