Iowa coach Lisa Bluder drops Caitlin Clark truth bomb after AP All-American win

This was the third consecutive year Caitlin Clark was named to the AP All-America team.

Iowa women’s basketball star Caitlin Clark has been named to The AP women’s All-America team for the third consecutive year, a feat achieved by only 10 other players in history. The unanimous selection by the 35-member national media panel underscores Clark’s dominance on the court as the NCAA’s all-time scoring leader.

With an impressive average of 31.9 points per game and leading assists at 8.9, Clark has not only topped the charts in scoring but has also become the first Division I player to record consecutive 1,000-point seasons and amass over 3,000 points and 1,000 assists in her career.

Lisa Bluder, Iowa’s head coach, highlighted the awe surrounding Clark’s achievements.

“That is mind-boggling when you think about it,” Bluder said, as reported by the Associated Press. “I mean, everybody’s defensive plan is to stop her, and nobody’s been able to figure out really how to do it. She’s faced every kind of defense. She really knows how to pick them apart.”

Caitlin Clark joins South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson and Aliyah Boston, Baylor’s Brittney Griner, Tennessee’s Chamique Holdsclaw, Duke’s Alana Beard, Paris, Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard and UConn’s Breanna Stewart and Maya Moore to be named to the team for three consecutive years. Paris and Moore did it four times.

Fresh faces making history

Southern California Trojans guard JuJu Watkins (12) dribbles the ball against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of the Pac-12 Tournament women's championship game
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s AP All-America team also spotlights two freshmen, JuJu Watkins of USC and Hannah Hidalgo of Notre Dame. Their inclusion as first-team All-Americans is a rare accomplishment, making them the fourth and fifth freshmen to achieve this honor since the creation of the team in 1994-95.

Watkins, with an impressive 810 points this season, stands as the fourth-highest-scoring freshman in history. Averaging 27 points, the second highest after Clark, she also contributed 7.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.5 blocks, helping the Trojans clinch the Pac-12 tournament title this season for the first time since 2014. Additionally, Watkins secured the honor of being the first USC player to receive first-team AP honors.

“JuJu came to a program that while there’s a proud history, there’s been nothing significant done in many, many years,” USC women’s basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “It’s very rare for a player of her level to go to a program that’s not already at the top. She’s answered every bell.”

On the other hand, Hidalgo has been a force for Notre Dame, showcasing her prowess on both ends of the court and playing a critical role in their ACC tournament title win. Hidalgo averaged 23.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists this season, and also led the nation in steals, averaging 4.6 a game.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Hannah Hidalgo (3) displays a piece of the tournament net after the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the NC State Wolfpack
© David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

“She deserves to be listed amongst the best in women’s basketball,” Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Niele Ivey said. “Hannah is a fierce competitor and an elite performer who rises to the occasion and has been extremely consistent and dominant this season.”

“We’ve had a front-row seat to JuJu, but what Hannah’s done is unbelievable,” added Gottlieb. “Coach Niele (Ivey) has done an incredible job.”

Cameron Brink, Paige Bueckers join Caitlin Clark in rounding out All-America team

tanford Cardinal forward Cameron Brink (22) smiles after the game against the Colorado Buffaloes
© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford’s Cameron Brink and UConn’s Paige Bueckers, who, alongside Caitlin Clark, were part of the preseason AP All-America team, were also named to the AP women’s team.

Brink, known for her formidable presence on both ends of the court, has led the nation in blocks while averaging 17.8 points and 12 rebounds per game. Notably, Brink recorded 100 blocks and 100 assists in a single season, a milestone that places her in the company of Stewart, who accomplished that three times during her college career. Brink is the first Stanford player to be honored as a first-team All-American since Chiney Ogwumike in 2013-14.

“Cam is the best two-way player in the nation and a dominant force at both ends,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “In addition to all the points, rebounds and blocks, she’s a selfless teammate and a willing passer who makes everyone around her better.”

Paige Bueckers, meanwhile, has made a triumphant return to the court this season. Averaging 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, Bueckers has been at the forefront for UConn.  Her defensive efforts, coupled with her knack for making crucial plays, highlight her all-around game and impact on the Huskies’ success.

“She’s one of those unique superstars that wants to be that at both ends of the floor,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “Not everyone values those same things. She gets a lot of enjoyment out of the rebounding that she can do, the blocked shots, the steals, stealing the inbounds pass on the out-of-bounds play. She just has a great sense of the game and what’s happening next. I think that’s probably why she’s never surprised, because I think she always knows what’s happening next.”

UConn Huskies guard Paige Bueckers (5) holds up her jersey during senior night after defeating the Georgetown Hoyas
© David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, AP second team features Elizabeth Kitley from Virginia Tech, Angel Reese of LSU, Kamilla Cardoso from South Carolina, Madison Booker from Texas and Jacy Sheldon from Ohio State. The third team includes Utah’s Alissa Pili, Mackenzie Holmes, Daisha Fair from Syracuse, Georgia Amoore of Virginia Tech and Reagan Beers from Oregon State. Honorable mentions go to Ayoka Lee of Kansas State and Aaliyah Edwards from UConn.

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About the Author

Erin Achenbach is the Lead Women’s Sports Editor at ClutchPoints, championing women’s sports coverage and media representation. Originally from Dallas, she graduated from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism in 2017. Now residing in St. Louis, the lifelong Texas Rangers fan has spent the past five years covering community news, and avoiding any Cardinals fans who remind her about Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.

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