DALLAS (USBWA) – A three-time All-American and one of the most prolific scorers in the Big Ten and the nation, Iowa guard Caitlin Clark has lit up scoreboards and electrified crowds with her all-around play throughout the season. The two-time Big Ten Player of the Year’s historic season that has led Iowa to its second Final Four has earned Clark being selected as the winner of the 2022-23 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the USBWA National Player of the Year.
Clark is the second Iowa player to win the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award alongside Megan Gustafson, a two-time USBWA All-American who won the award in the 2018-19 season. Clark and Gustafson are the only Big Ten players to earn the award in its now 36-year history since the 1987-88 season. Clark is the first Iowa player to earn three USBWA All-America honors as the Hawkeyes’ eighth all-time All-American and the first with multiple honors since Gustafson in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
Clark will formally receive the award at the upcoming USBWA College Basketball Awards Banquet on April 12 in St. Louis hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club along with USBWA National Coach of the Year Dawn Staley of South Carolina and Tamika Catchings Award winner Ta’Niya Latson of Florida State, the National Freshman Player of the Year. The Oscar Robertson Trophy winner, to be announced on Monday in Houston, and the other USBWA men’s awards will be presented there as well.
The 6-0 junior from West Des Moines, Iowa, is primed to topple multiple single-season marks today as Iowa (30-6) enters this weekend’s Final Four facing defending national champion South Carolina (36-0) and last season’s Ann Meyers Drysdale Award winner, Aliyah Boston, in the semifinals. Clark needs 16 points to become the first Division I player to eclipse 1,000 points and 300 assists in the same season. At 984 points scored, she is the third Big Ten player to score at least 900 in a single season and currently lists second on the conference’s single-season scoring list. Gustafson holds the record at 1,001 from the 2018-19 season, 17 points ahead of Clark.
The award is based on regular-season performance only, where Clark led the nation in assists per game (8.6), three-pointers made (127) and triple-doubles (5). She has 17 double-doubles this year, tied for 15th nationally and tops in the Big Ten, with 43 in her career heading into Friday’s semifinal. She leads the country this season with 18 games with at least 25 points, five boards, and five assists; she’s done it 40 times in her career, the most in NCAA women’s basketball history. Clark is the only player in Big Ten women’s basketball history to list in the conference’s top-10 in both points (27.3 ppg) and assists (311).
Further into the Iowa record book, Clark needs one three-point make (127 to date) to be the all-time leader in most made at Iowa. She has scored 30 or more points in 12 games, including three 40-point performances. Her all-around play is complemented by also leading Iowa in rebounding (262, 7.3 per game) from her guard position, as well as 56 steals and 20 blocks. Clark accounts for 57 percent of Iowa’s offensive output in points and assists.
This is the second USBWA national award for Clark – she was the USBWA’s Co-Freshman of the Year in the 2020-21 season, sharing the honor with UConn’s Paige Bueckers. Clark also earned the National Player of the Week this season on Feb. 7, sharing the weekly honor with South Carolina’s Boston.
Clark’s postseason stats to date were not a part of the selection process. Worth noting nonetheless is in Iowa’s four NCAA Tournament games, Clark is averaging 30 points, 11 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 4.8 three-pointers and 2.5 steals.
Iowa, the nation’s top-scoring team at 87.6 points per game, and Clark have to work against the NCAA’s toughest defenses in tonight's semifinal. South Carolina led the country in scoring defense for most of the regular season before slipping to No. 3 during the postseason with its current 51.1 points given up per game. The Gamecocks are also No. 7 in scoring offense at 80.5 points per game.
The Ann Meyers Drysdale Award is presented annually to the women's national player of the year by the USBWA. Named for the legendary UCLA guard, the award was first presented in the 1987-88 season and formally named in Meyers Drysdale's honor in the 2011-12 season. Ann Meyers Drysdale played at UCLA from 1974-78, which pre-dates the USBWA All-America selections. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected a women's All-America team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.