Reigning national player of the year Caitlin Clark and an Ohio State fan inadvertently collided Sunday afternoon as Buckeyes fans stormed the court following the team’s 100-92 upset in overtime over No. 2 Iowa.
Multiple videos posted by fans on social media show an Ohio State fan running toward a gathering crowd at midcourt and then crashing into Clark as she was running off the floor. Clark fell to the ground and was immediately surrounded by arena personnel and Iowa teammates to check on her. She appeared to be hunched over in pain as she walked into the tunnel.
Clark told reporters after the game that she just had the wind knocked out of her but that it was a “kind of scary” situation that could have been worse.
“I could see they were storming the court, which was totally fine. Good for their students, great win for them,” Clark said, adding she was “hammered” and “blindsided” by the court-stormer while trying to swiftly get off the floor.
“That just should not happen,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “Our players should be safe. They should be able to walk off the floor. That’s very disappointing. Ohio State, great team, great environment, but obviously very disappointed with the postgame with our players getting injured trying to walk out of the gym. That’s wrong.”
The superstar guard, who put up 45 points in the loss, said Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith already apologized to her for the incident and that she “really appreciated that.”
“Such a spectacular performance today and she’s such a great player, and that should never happen,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said after beginning his news conference by apologizing to Clark. “I feel really badly. Hopefully, she’s OK and it doesn’t affect her moving forward. That’s extremely unfortunate. It shouldn’t happen to anybody, but man, such a great player like Caitlin, you really hate that. I know we had security, but a student apparently beat the security, so I really feel badly about that.”
Clark, who leads the country in scoring (31.0 PPG) and is second in assists (7.7 APG), said, “It just comes with the territory.
“I’m sure they tried their best to do whatever they could. Obviously it didn’t work, and that’s disappointing. Just focused now on the game and ways we can get better.”
The loss snapped Iowa’s 15-game winning streak and was its first defeat in Big Ten play.
No. 18 Ohio State boasted a crowd of 18,660, the largest attendance for a regular-season women’s basketball game this season.