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Caitlin Clark passes Pete Maravich on epic day in Iowa City

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IOWA CITY — Too much happened to describe Sunday in this fiery college town, so it’s best not even to try to describe it.

Start trying, and soon you’re drawn like a mutant taffy to this sight or that and that sound or this on a busy senior day at Iowa, the day Caitlin Clark passed “Pistol” Pete Maravich in the top of all major university points collectors. You’re into the revealing details, like the fact that Clark became so famous that before the game the announcer had an on-court interview with two of her. the cousinsleaving you wondering if they are first cousins ​​or distant cousins ​​once removed or people speciously claiming to be cousins.

Clark arrived with her teammates through the tunnel to the field and a wave of frenzied noise around 10 a.m., two hours before kickoff, with a “College GameDay” crowd filling about half of the Carver -Hawkeye Arena. She could smile to hear ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo describe her as “a singular force in ticket sales” as the big screens showed a small ticket priced at $433 for this coveted occasion.

Dwell too much on these details, as revealing as they are, and you leave out the high feeling, like when ESPN had Maya Moore suddenly appear on a street corner so she and Clark could kiss for the first time. times since Clark, 10 years old. one day I got to kiss an idol in Minneapolis. Later Sunday, Clark, 22, could compare the hugs and say, “I think they’re both different magnitudes,” while one girl among the 14,998 could one day embody the coach’s words of Iowa, Lisa Bluder: “And it’s just that kind of ‘pass it on, pass it on.’ »

And then there was the timeout with 42 seconds left and No. 6 Iowa on the verge of toppling No. 2 Ohio State, 93-83, when the Hawkeyes discussed strategy as Moore was doing an on-field interview touting the dream of women’s sports and “luck.” be seen.” Or the first-quarter timeout when 64-year-old Lynette Woodard took the field and the crowd cheered and clapped and cheered, knowing that four nights earlier Clark had surpassed the former Kansas star’s scoring record and had shed a much-deserved light on him. This led Bluder, 62, to recall Woodard as her model and saying, “The opportunity to have her in the locker room and introduce her to the Hawkeyes was really meaningful.”

However, think about the full meaning of this point and you may not notice that Clark broke Maravich’s goals record (3,667) with 35 points to reach 3,685, surpassing Maravich in one of the most eccentric ways possible. First, she rushed onto the court 30 seconds before halftime, a point shy of the record, forcing everyone to stand up with their phones to record the moment, after which Clark kicked her daring basket usual three-pointer but missed halftime. do.

In Caitlin Clark, Pete Maravich has a studious and worthy heir

Then, somewhere in the rest of the game, after Iowa’s marvelous Hannah Stuelke fouled out, there was half a second left and Clark walked over to Ohio State’s Cotie McMahon, giving her a little shoulder to half truculent, forcing McMahon to fight back and drawing one of the shakiest technical fouls you’ll ever see, a discredit to Woodard and Cheryl Miller and Dawn Staley and Lobo and Moore and Brittney Griner, among others. Clark made the first technical free throw, tying Maravich. Then she sank the second, making her number the largest.

“It’s really crazy to think about,” Clark said. “Obviously, if you had told me that at the beginning of my college career, I would have laughed in your face.”

But focus on all that and you might miss a point people kept bringing up, which is that a really big game also happened here, with Iowa (26-4, 15 -3 Big Ten) avenging a January loss. and end Ohio State’s (25-4, 16-2) 15-game winning streak in a game that sparked boomerang after boomerang.

“That’s what we’ve built here,” Clark said. “These are the moments you dream of. . . . We have the impression of experiencing a kind of illusion.

There was also a Senior Day ceremony, and the On the road to the WNBA Clark talked about playing alongside her “best friends” such as fellow seniors Molly Davis, Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall.

Plus, Travis Scott was there hugging Clark, Bluder and others at the end, as was Nolan Ryan and Dallas Clark and the guy from all the insurance commercials. All this, all day, prompted estimable Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Mike Hlas to tell a visitor, “This isn’t normal.”

In addition, visitors came from near and far, posters with messages such as “THE GUN TAUGHT ME TO DRIBBLE/CAITLIN TAUGHT ME TO DREAM”, and “I STOLE 1,000 MILES TO SEE CLARK DRAWING FROM THE LOGO”, or the essential T-shirts on the records with “YOU BROKE IT, YOU OWN IT” or this guy, at least one, with the T-shirt with the shape of Iowa and the word “HER”.

Sally Jenkins: While Caitlin Clark breaks all records, the NCAA can correct its own

All of this, too difficult to process, clearly screamed: the roulette wheel of sporting experiences stopped here and lavished this place with wonder. Opportunities have expanded and people have experienced a time that a hundred cities might envy, although it’s not over given the possibility of up to two NCAA Tournament home games coming up . What happened confirmed the great biological truth that the eye remains dazzled by the long-arc shots that splash into the baskets and that the ride can become crowded, especially if the one shooting all those shots doubles as someone one that Bluder calls “such a great ambassador.” »

With that last part in mind, Clark finally completed a series of on-field salutes and began heading toward the tunnel one last time in the regular season. By the time she did, a crowd had gathered 10 rows down the street corner and out the door for what became Clark’s routine, the act of signing and signing and signing. Voices shouting “Caitlin!” » clearly belonged to very young people, and eventually she made her way through the tunnel, except that a sizable group hanging above the right side of the entrance had not caught her attention.

When they did, she turned around and came back and started again, in an emblem of everything that has happened here – too much to consider in one afternoon. When she finished and headed down the hall amid the mass of cameras that told of unusual fame, the voices too high to reach called her name even more from the back of the arena – small voices slender, feminine and masculine.

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