Caitlin Clark Destroys Net, Shatters Jaws, With Game-Winning 3-Pointer

On Tuesday night, the college basketball star hit a buzzer-beater to win Iowa's game against Michigan State. The moment was absolutely fucking incredible.

Caitlin Clark Destroys Net, Shatters Jaws, With Game-Winning 3-Pointer
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For most of us dumb, lazy humans, the first week of January is a time for doing the bare minimum: Languishing on the couch, canceling any plans or meetings you foolishly made before the holidays, preparing your mind and spirit to take on your New Year’s resolutions next week, etc., etc. But when you’re an athlete, and particularly when you’re Caitlin Clark, the first week of January is for game-winning shots and career-defining victories.

On Tuesday night, the Iowa All-American destroyed a three-pointer to avoid overtime and win the Hawkeyes’ game against the Michigan State Spartans 76-73. She also made the shot from the court’s logo. And it was a buzzer-beater, with the basketball gorgeously falling through the net half a second after the buzzer went off. The moment is absolutely fucking incredible. And everyone is rightfully losing their minds over it.

Here’s ESPN’s account of the play:

A few seconds before, it looked like the Hawkeyes might not get a good last look and overtime was on the horizon. But forward Hannah Stuelke, standing beyond the top of the 3-point arc, passed the ball to Clark, and the guard faked right, took a dribble step-back and then launched the shot with 0.1 seconds remaining.

If you didn’t follow the women’s 2023 NCAA tournament, and this is your first introduction to Caitlin Clark, welcome! The college basketball star nets three-pointers as often and as easily as you or I might blow our nose. There were multiple occasions during that tournament where I thought I was watching a replay because I couldn’t believe she’d just made another three-point shot. Also during March Madness 2023, Clark set the record for most points scored during an NCAA tournament with 191 points—surpassing Sheryl Swoopes’ record of 177 points, which she set in 1993. (LSU ultimately defeated Iowa 102-85 in the championship game.)

Clark continued her record-setting streak at Tuesday night’s game, scoring 40 points including eight three-pointers. According to ESPN Stats & Info, this was her 10th 40-point game, which is the most by any Division I player in 25 years. It was also her 100th game with at least 20 points and her fourth consecutive 35-point game. I was proud of myself for waking up at 8:30 a.m. this morning.

This was also, technically, an off game for Clark, if you can even believe. Despite hitting the game-winning shot, the senior guard missed her first six shots of the second quarter and only made 14 shots of 34 attempts. (And while she made eight three-pointers, she attempted 20.) “I think I kind of struggled there, got a little hot, got a little cold, especially to start the second half,” she told ESPN. “I subbed myself out of the game to get a quick breather. But you just come back, you’ve got to let it go, and you’ve got to respond. I think that’s kind of where I’ve grown the most over the past few years.”

Regardless, the win was Iowa’s 11th in a row this season, their longest streak since the 2004-05 season. (They’re currently 14-1 but 3-0 in the Big Ten.) And Clark’s 40 points bring her total career points to 3,229, surpassing Brittney Griner for fourth on the women’s college basketball all-time scoring list—a record Clark’s expected to break later in the season.

“Honestly, I just look around, and I get to play in an arena full of a lot of little kids, a lot of little girls that admire our team, a lot of fans that are here at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night, at the beginning of January, and that’s rare for women’s basketball, but it’s becoming the norm,” she told NBC Sports after the win. “I’m just really thankful, I’m trying to soak in every single second because it’s really surreal, and it kind of brings a little tear to my eye.”

The season is just heating up, so we can hopefully look forward to more victory tears in the next couple of months.

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