THEY’RE HOME: Fans welcome the Hawkeyes back to Iowa City to celebrate the end of the season. |T

The event welcomes the Hawkeyes home after their second-consecutive NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship appearance.


Fans welcome Hawkeyes back to Iowa City for end-of-season celebration

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Members of the star-studded Iowa women’s basketball team and their loyal fans have flooded Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the team’s end-of-season celebration Wednesday night.

The event honors the Hawkeyes home after their second consecutive NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship appearance.

Fans will hear from head coach Lisa Bluder, star player Caitlin Clark and the team’s seniors: Molly Davis, Sharon Goodman, Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall.

Hawkeye fan Suazanna Huffins told Local 5 she changed her major to get a closer seat to all the action.

“Me personally, I switched my major. I’m a first year here, so I switched my major to broadcasting and communications to do exactly that, to broadcast, and to just be right into women’s sports,” Huffins said.

The passion at the arena had no age limit.

“I’m here today to celebrate Caitlin and my birthday,” a 10-year-old fan told Local 5. “I hope to be like them when I grow up.”

“I honestly feel like I’m 5 years old even though I’m turning 40 this year. These girls just give the whole state of Iowa something to root for,” another fan added.

Clark spoke to the fans during the celebration, thanking them for endless support as the team made history: “You’ve all inspired me just as much as I’ve inspired you.”

Clark’s jersey number, 22, was retired at the event — an honor reserved for a player like no other.

Though South Carolina bested Iowa 87-75 in Sunday’s championship game, the team still has plenty to celebrate.

The last two games the Hawkeyes played shattered previous viewing records, according to ESPN PR, with the 2024 title matchup keeping a whopping 18.9 million viewers glued to their screens.

Back-to-back appearances in women’s college basketball’s highest competition is nothing to sniff at, either. The Hawkeye squad, crafted by Bluder, has had tournament success two years in a row with a similar roster.

“I think you have to be really special to come into our program. We don’t invite just everybody into our circle,” Bluder said. “Our circle can’t be bought.”

Clark, one of the most awarded female basketball players in history, will say goodbye to the arena and its adoring fans ahead of the April 15 WNBA Draft.

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