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Caitlin Clark makes surprise appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live’ ahead of WNBA draft

NEW YORK (AP) — Caitlin Clark made a surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live” during the show’s “Weekend Update” segment.

The Iowa star is in New York for the WNBA draft on Monday night, when she is expected to be the top pick by the Indiana Fever.

The NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer showed up after anchor Michael Che made a joke about Iowa retiring her jersey. Clark got the last laugh as Che then read some more jokes that Clark said she wrote that made fun of the comedian.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 13: Caitlin Clark arrives at SNL afterparty is seen on April 13, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 13: Caitlin Clark arrives at SNL afterparty is seen on April 13, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

The Iowa native then delivered a heartfelt message about her basketball future, thanking many of the great players who came before her.

“I’m sure it will be a big first step for me, but it’s just one step for the WNBA thanks to all the great players like Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper, the great Dawn Staley, and my basketball hero, Maya Moore,” Clark said. “These are the women that kicked down the door so I could walk inside. So, I want to thank them tonight for laying the foundation.”

Clark came back on stage at the end of the show, bringing her former Hawkeye teammates Kate Martin, Gabbie Marshall and Jada Gyamfi with her.

It’s been a busy week for Clark since her team lost to South Carolina in the national championship game in Cleveland. She went to Los Angeles to accept the John R. Wooden Award, had a rally at the Iowa arena to celebrate the team and now is in New York.

Clark, Reese headline one of the most anticipated WNBA drafts in years

Clark, Angel Reese, Cameron Brink and others make this one of the most anticipated WNBA drafts in recent years. There are several impact players up for grabs, but their talent is nearly eclipsed by their popularity among basketball fans.

“Caitlin is kind of in a world of her own, but I don’t know that we have seen this kind of excitement across the board,” ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo said. “You know, Angel Reese has a massive following. Cameron Brink has a large following of people, whether it’s following them on social media or following them throughout the course of their college career.

“We have women coming into the draft this year, who people are very much aware of and eager to see how their game is going to translate at this level.”

Clark will go first to the Indiana Fever on Monday night when the draft takes place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in front of 1,000 fans.

While Clark is a lock to go first, Brink, Tennessee’s Rickea Jackson and South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso have all been in the discussion to be taken at No. 2 by Los Angeles. The Sparks also own the No. 4 pick with Chicago choosing third.

“They are foundational. They’re an incredible opportunity for our organization,” Sparks 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.”

Dallas is fifth and Washington sixth. Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas, Connecticut, New York and Atlanta close out the first round. In all, there are three rounds and 36 picks in total.

The draft is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday, April 15.

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