March Madness: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark wins AP Player of the Year over South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston

After one of the best individual performances in NCAA history, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark beat out last season’s Associated Press Player of the Year, South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, for the award in 2023 as the two prepare to meet in the Women’s Final Four.

Iowa’s junior guard saved his best performance for the game’s biggest stage, recording the first 40-point triple-double in NCAA history to lead Iowa to the Final Four for the first time in 30 years.

Clark was honored Thursday as The AP’s Women’s Basketball Player of the Year. She received 20 votes from the 28-member national media panel that votes on the AP Top 25 each week. Voting was done before March Madness began.

“It’s a great honor,” Clark said. “I chose a place where I fit in perfectly and that allowed me to show my skill set. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t mean anything. It’s not the reason you play basketball, it’s something that comes along with being able to do what you love.’

The Iowa coaching staff surprised Clark by sharing that she won the award while visiting Iowa Children’s Hospital, a place near and dear to her. She also has great ties to the Hawkeyes athletic department.

Iowa's Caitlin Clark beat out last season's AP Player of the Year, South Carolina's Aliyah Boston

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark beat out last season’s AP Player of the Year, South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston

They put together a video of some of the kids at the hospital congratulating Clark on an outstanding season, and in the middle, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder came on screen to tell him that he won.

“I’m there to inspire the next generation and be there for people who know they’re going through tough times,” said Clark, who grew up in Iowa. “To be able to bring joy to people who watch you play and watch your team play is incredible”.

She averaged 27.0 points, 8.3 assists, and 7.5 rebounds during the season to help Iowa finish 26-6. Clark has 984 points, the sixth most in a season by any player in Division I women’s history. She also has over 300 assists.

She is spectacular. I don’t know how else to describe what she does on the basketball court,” Bluder said.

Clark accepted the award in front of his fellow Hawkeyes. One of whom asked Clark who his favorite teammate was and the point guard deftly sidestepped him by saying ‘everyone was a favorite here’.

Indiana’s Teri Moren won AP Coach of the Year honors to complete a Big Ten sweep of the awards.

Last year's winner, Aliyah Boston (pictured), finished second in the Associated Press voting.

Last year’s winner, Aliyah Boston (pictured), finished second in the Associated Press voting.

Next up for the Hawkeyes is undefeated South Carolina in the national semifinals. The Gamecocks are led by Boston, the award winner last season. He got the other eight votes this season.

“There are so many great players, more than me and (Aliyah),” Clark told the AP. ‘You can go on and on and list the tremendous players. I think that’s really good for our game when there are a lot of great players. That’s what’s going to help this game grow more than anything else.”

Whether it’s hitting deep 3-pointers with the Hawkeye logo at home games, firing off-balance winners, or firing pinpoint passes to teammates for easy layups, Clark has excelled on the court this year to lead Iowa to a place you haven’t been. in a long time.

“It’s fun, because the better the opponent is, the better she almost plays,” Bluder said. “It’s like she looks at it, when we play top 25 teams.” That’s when her stats even increase even more, against big opponents.’

Clark is the second player from Iowa to win the AP award in recent seasons, joining Megan Gustafson in 2019.

Caitlin Clark hit Louisville with the diss after her sixth three-ball Sunday

Cena made the move famous in the ring.

John Cena made diss a universal gesture during his full-time career with WWE

The Hollywood star thanked Clark after his 41-point triple-double in the Iowa win.

The Hollywood star thanked Clark after his 41-point triple-double in the Iowa win.

Last week, John Cena Clark after she used her ‘You can’t see me’ gesture during a breakout performance in the Hawkeyes Elite Eight’s victory at March Madness.

Clark held a shooting clinic, finishing with 41 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds while shooting and 8/14 from three.

After his sixth triple, he took out WWE’s iconic slur towards Louisville, which was widely shared on social media.

Cena, who made the move famous throughout his career as a full-time wrestler, noted that Clark copied his trademark gesture and greeted her on Twitter on Tuesday.

‘Even if they could see you…they couldn’t protect you! Congratulations on @CaitlinClark22’s historic performance and @IowaWBB on advancing to the Final Four!’ Cena wrote.