Iowa's Caitlin Clark is OK after a collision with a fan knocked her to the court and left her reeling in pain following the Ohio State Buckeyes' upset of the Hawkeyes on Sunday in Columbus.
The 18th-ranked Buckeyes rallied in the fourth quarter for a 100-92 overtime win over the No. 2 Hawkeyes at home. After the game, Ohio State fans stormed the court at Value City Arena before Iowa players had left for the locker room. One fan collided with Clark, sending her spinning and reeling to the floor.
The fan also fell down then got up to join the celebration on the court as Clark remained on the ground.
— The Field of 68 (@TheFieldOf68) January 21, 2024
Clark's teammates and Iowa officials immediately tended to Clark as she remained on the court.
Clark eventually got up and was doubled over in pain as she left the court through the tunnel with an escort by her teammates and a police officer.
Something happened with Caitlin Clark at the end of the game and she had to be helped off the court. Appeared to be on a lot of pain/distress. pic.twitter.com/Te3feQh7QA
— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) January 21, 2024
After the game, an Iowa spokesperson told reporters that Clark was not injured in the collision. It was good news after a scary scene left the game's biggest star at risk of injury. Clark confirmed she was fine after the game, too, and said Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith apologized to her directly.
"Yeah, I'm OK," Clark said, via the Dayton Daily News' Marcus Hartman. "Great environment, obviously, like these are the games you'd love to play in, 18,000 people here. Now, obviously, I can see they're storming the court which is totally fine and I mean, good for their students.
"Great win for them and I was just trying to exit the court as quickly as possible, so I started running and I was absolutely just hammered by somebody trying to run onto the court and basically blindsided and, you know, kind of scary. Could have caused a pretty serious injury to me and knocked the wind out of me, but luckily my teammates kind of picked me up and got me off the court."
There were no initial reports addressing the fan or if the fan would face any sort of discipline. The incident will renew the debate over how colleges and conferences should handle fans storming football fields and basketball courts after home wins.
Clark had another huge day for the Hawkeyes despite the loss. She tallied 45 points, seven assists and three rebounds while shooting 12-of-25 from the field including 7-of-18 from 3-point distance.
Clark led the Hawkeyes to the national championship game last season and is on pace to break the all-time NCAA Division I women's scoring record. Her performance Sunday left her at 3,351 career points, 176 points behind former Washington guard Kelsey Plum, who holds the record with 3,527 points.
Clark's health and her quest to break the record were put at risk on Sunday by a careless Ohio State fan. Fortunately, she is OK.
"This is what comes with the territory, and I'm sure they tried their best to do whatever they could," Clark said of the celebration. "Obviously it didn't work and that's disappointing, but you know, just focus on the game and ways we can get better."