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DALLAS — After a landmark women’s NCAA tournament in which she led the Iowa Hawkeyes to their first national championship game and put her name in multiple places in the NCAA record book, Caitlin Clark leaned on the shoulder of teammate Monika Czinano and shed a few tears after Sunday’s 102-85 loss to the LSU Tigers.

Then Clark reflected about how special this season has been for Iowa, especially for a kid who grew up in the state. The West Des Moines native has been the center of attention of a very popular team.

“I want my legacy to be the impact that I can have on young kids and the people in the state of Iowa, and I hope I brought them a lot of joy this season,” a still emotional Clark said. “I hope this team brought them a lot of joy. I understand we came up one win short, but I think we have a lot to be proud of and a lot to celebrate.”

Clark’s 191 points, 60 assists and 32 3-pointers are all records for a single women’s NCAA tournament since the event began in 1982. Her point total actually was the most in either women’s or men’s NCAA tournament history. Clark was responsible for 63% of the Hawkeyes’ offense in the tournament through either scoring or assists.

“She’s a phenomenal basketball player. She’s showed that time and time again,” Czinano said. “She’s doing it the right way. She’s doing it the fun way and being a role model for little kids who want to grow up and be like her. That’s a great thing.”

Clark had 30 points, eight assists and two rebounds against LSU and said afterward she felt that she didn’t drive enough. At the same time, she said the LSU defense was so good that the Tigers didn’t give her many opportunities.

“Sometimes you just have to live with it and give the other team credit,” Clark said.

Even though the Hawkeyes trailed 59-42 at halftime, Clark said with their ability to score — Iowa had the top offense in Division I this season — they still felt they could win the game.

“Nobody was complaining; nobody was pouting,” Clark said. “It was just a constant belief that we could do it.”

That’s the mindset the Hawkeyes took after having a 5-3 record by Dec. 1. They lost just four more times the rest of the season, winning the Big Ten tournament, making the Final Four for the second time in program history and reaching the title game for the first time.

Clark scored 1,055 points, the fourth most in a season in NCAA Division I history, and had 327 assists (8.6 per game), making her the first player in Division I ever to top 1,000 points and 300 assists in a season. She made 140 3-pointers. And she had five triple-doubles this campaign — including one in the Seattle 4 Regional final — and Clark now has 11 in her career, second only to former Oregon Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu.

Clark has 2,717 points in her first three seasons; she would need 811 more points to break the NCAA record set by the Washington HuskiesKelsey Plum from 2013 to 2017.

There is a chance the junior guard could stay around two more seasons in Iowa City, as she could use the COVID-19 waiver and play a fifth year in college. One thing is for sure: The 21-year-old will be back in 2023-24 to try to improve on what was a dream season overall.

“I’m lucky enough that this isn’t my last time wearing an Iowa uniform,” Clark said. “I just appreciate what we did here and everything we were able to accomplish. I feel like the sky’s still the limit for myself and this program. It excites me that we’ve been able to build this and accomplish something like this.”

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Emotional Caitlin Clark hopes Iowa inspired ‘joy’ with title run