Caitlin Clark may be one of the biggest names in women’s basketball, but the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in Monday’s WNBA draft isn’t letting that fact change the impact she’s having on those looking up to her.

Clark has been heralded as one of the driving factors in the increased attention to women’s college basketball after she broke just about every college basketball record there was and helped lead Iowa to back-to-back national title game appearances.

The hope among women’s sports enthusiasts is that her presence in the WNBA will drive increased attention to the league, further boost women’s sports and help inspire the next generation of female athletes.

In an interview with NBC News’ “TODAY” that will air on Monday, Clark recalled the athletes that she used to look up to and why it’s so important to her to be that role model for young girls.
Caitlin Clark warms up before an Iowa game during the NCAA Tournament.Caitlin Clark warms up before an Iowa game during the NCAA Tournament.USA TODAY Sports

​​“The people I idolized in my life were either professional women’s basketball players, professional soccer players, and that’s what I wanted to be growing up. And I think understanding how big of an impact that can have on a young girl’s life is super important,” Clark said.

“So I always try to make as much time as I can for them. And just to see them scream your name or have your jersey on — that’s something that never gets old.”

Fans lined up hours outside of arenas to see Clark play when Iowa would play on the road, and young fans anxiously waited to try and get autographs from her before and after games.

Following a ceremony to honor the 2023-24 Hawkeyes women’s basketball team, Clark stayed to make sure she met with her adoring fans after the event had ended.

Clark’s college career reached new heights during her senior season as she became college basketball’s all-time leading scorer — men’s or women’s DI basketball — and surpassed the women’s college basketball scoring record that had been set by Kelsey Plum.

She’s expected to be taken first overall by the Indiana Fever in a draft that may be one of the most highly anticipated ones in WNBA history, with not only Clark being selected but also LSU star Angel Reese and South Carolina star Kamilla Cardoso.
Caitlin Clark attempts a shot against Holy Cross in an NCAA Tournament game.Caitlin Clark attempts a shot against Holy Cross in an NCAA Tournament game.AP

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Reese has been another player that has brought increased attention to women’s college basketball and hopes to now raise the profile of the WNBA.

“Being able to raise women’s sports is amazing,” Reese said Friday during a promotional event. “I think I’ve done a lot in college and so many different players have done the same thing. Being able to take this to the W is where you want to do it at. And I think they deserve it, especially the vets. I mean they’ve done a great job, laying the groundwork for us.”