Caitlin Clark’s young dream of playing in the WNBA is set to become reality

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NEW YORK (AP) — In elementary school, Caitlin Clark wrote down a list of her goals and dreams that included playing in the WNBA one day.

That dream will become a reality Monday night when Clark is expected to be taken first by the Indiana Fever in the WNBA draft. Her mom Anne still has the piece of paper that Clark wrote it on.

“It’s pretty special, looking back at that sheet I was able to check off a lot of goals,” Clark told the AP on Sunday.

Clark said she never dreamed of the impact she’s had in helping grow the sport to where it is today with record ratings and attendance numbers.

“If you would have told me that we would (be) here playing in front of 24 million people on national television, I’d say that was insane. I still can’t wrap my head around it,” Clark said. “Something that everyone should be proud of. Everybody that came before us to have this moment. Where it’s going to continue to grow, the young stars in our game are really good. The WNBA is really good. The talent level across the board has helped this.”

Here are a few other tidbits from the draft:

LA STORY

The Los Angeles Sparks may hold the key to how the rest of the draft unfolds after Clark goes No. 1. Los Angeles has the No. 2 and No. 4 picks. The team lost franchise star Nneka Ogwumike in free agency to Seattle as well as guard Jordin Canada to Atlanta in a trade so are looking to rebuild.

“They’re an incredible opportunity for our organization,” first-year GM Raegan Pebley said. “We definitely want to see two players that not only have the skill set to make an impact early but also a long runway ahead of them. Opportunities to develop, opportunities to not only be excellent in what they do but how they impact the other pieces around them as we continue to build this team.”

The Sparks most likely will choose between Stanford center Cameron Brink, Tennessee wing Rickea Jackson and South Carolina center Kamilla Cardoso.

SWAPPING PICKS

The Chicago Sky, who own the No. 3 pick, also traded up one spot to get No. 7 from Minnesota. The Sky sent the No. 8 pick as well as Sika Koné, the Sky’s second-round pick next year and the rights to swap first-round picks in 2026 to Minnesota. Chicago also received Nikolina Milić from Minnesota.

“We are excited to strengthen our draft position once again in a year with many top prospects,” Sky general manager Jeff Pagliocca said. “We thank Sika for her many contributions to the Sky and wish her success in her next role.”

The Sky also have the first pick in the second round.

WATCH PARTY

Fans can join Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike, Ashley Joens and Kristen Meyer — Clark’s high school coach — online from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET as part of a virtual watch event via a partnership with HANG media. Fans will watch the draft on TV while joining the quartet on YouTube or HANG’s website to answer questions.

“This allows fans to interact with WNBA athletes and build connections,” said Joens, who was an AAU teammate with Clark in Iowa before playing against her at Iowa State.

Meyer has often been asked what Clark was like in high school. She recalls a time when Clark scored 60 points in a game her junior year. She made 13 of 17 from behind the arc in a close game.

“We’ve seen a number of times she gets in a zone, you can’t stop her,” she said.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

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