The confetti falls for South Carolina. They’re celebrating a national championship and a perfect season. But it’s the Hawkeyes that are being credited for something much bigger than that: Putting women’s basketball in the national spotlight.

From ticket prices to attendance to viewership across America, more people are watching and appreciating women’s basketball because of Caitlin Clark and these Hawkeyes.

“There’s so much to be thankful for outside of basketball and that’s where I find my peace and calm,” Caitlin Clark said. “I reflect back on my career and I know I gave every single thing I had. There’s so many people that never believed Iowa would make a Final Four. To do it twice is incredible.”

“She came in as a freshman and said, ‘We’re going to the Final Four,’ and many people laughed at her,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “Many laughed at her for coming to Iowa.”

“I’m disappointed we lost. Obviously, it’s nothing to hang our heads about,” Kate Martin said. “We gave it our best effort and we laid it all out on the court. No regrets with how I played my entire career and I’ve always given it 100%.”

“We’ve done amazing things this year,” Sydney Affolter said. “I’m so proud of each and every girl. This one’s going to sting but I’m proud of what this group did this year.”

“We made history together. We’ve done pretty much everything we can do,” Gabbie Marshall said. “I will have them in my life forever.”

Life goes on and Clark will now take her talents to the WNBA. It’s not a national championship, but this Hawkeye team can say something nobody in the sport’s history can. They made it better. That’s one heck of a legacy.

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Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder talks with guard Caitlin Clark (22) at the end of the Final Four college basketball championship game against South Carolina in the women’s NCAA Tournament, Sunday, April 7, 2024, in Cleveland. South Carolina won 87-75 …