ROCK RAPIDS, IA (KELO) — The Iowa Hawkeyes have been making moves in the women’s NCAA tournament. The team has made it to the final four, plus star player Caitlin Clark has been named Player of the Year.
“To our coaches, you believed in me since the day I stepped on campus and you know probably since I was in 7th grade and wanted to help get this team, this program to this point and we did it, but I think we can win two more games while we’re here and that’s our goal,” Clark said.
The excitement is felt across the state of Iowa, especially by young girls who dream of someday playing college basketball.
As Clark continues to make hoop after hoop — Central Lyon’s middle school girls basketball team keeps cheering her on.
“She’s an incredible basketball player. It’s just crazy the way she passes to her teammates. It’s just insane. I really like how she works with their teammates. She’s very encouraging to all of them. She’s just crazy athlete,” said Ellianna Hoefert, 8th grade.
8th graders Ellianna Hoefert and her teammate Emory Lincecum are both Hawkeye fans. Recently the duo got to see Clark play live.
“When I first saw her, I’m like, she’s actually human. It was kind of just like, she’s actually there. It was just a fun experiment- experience,” said Emory.
Point Guard Taylor Rypkema says she and her teammate Jessa Vande Weerd got to meet Clark at a recent game. She says meeting her was inspiring.
“It was just really cool to see her hit all the logo shots and it was just really fun getting to meet her in person,” said Taylor Rypkema, 7th grader.
These girls all plan to continue playing basketball into High School, and to hopefully one day play at the University of Iowa.
“It’d be a dream come true. That’s something I’ve always looking forward to since day one,” Hoefert said.
“These four girls are girls that have aspirations to play college basketball someday and to have awesome examples like what the University of Iowa with their women are doing right now,” said Heather Grafing, head girls basketball coach. “It’s just really awesome to see young kids just get excited about women’s basketball, it’s really cool.”
The Hawkeye’s face off against South Carolina Friday at 8. We’ll bring you highlights of the game in sports.