Iowa women's basketball: Caitlin Clark wins Dawn Staley Award as nation's 'best all-around guard'

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa standout Caitlin Clark has been named the 2021 Dawn Staley Award winner, given to the best all-around guard in women’s basketball.

Clark is the first freshman to win the award.

“It’s always a special day when we give out the Dawn Staley Award, but I absolutely love that this year it's going to be a freshman because it means fans of our game get to watch Caitlin Clark — an absolute star — for so many years,” said Staley, a Basketball Hall of Famer and three-time Olympic gold medalist. “Caitlin Clark is so talented. She can score from anywhere, has incredible vision for someone so young and is a relentless defender.

"Those of us who pay attention to this game have known about her for some time, but the world is now getting to see what she can do on the biggest of stages. Caitlin is going to be a huge part of women’s basketball for a long time and I couldn’t be more proud that she is the recipient of this year's Dawn Staley Award.”

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) makes a 3-point basket during a NCAA Big Ten Conference women's basketball game against Purdue, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

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Clark averaged 26.6 points, 7.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game this season. As the nation's leading scorer, Clark's points-per-game figure set the Iowa freshman record (men’s or women’s). She is the only Division I player to record 12 30-point games this season — the most by an NCAA Division I freshman since 2000. 

In guiding Iowa to the Sweet 16, Clark led the nation in assists (214), points (799), points per game (26.6), field goals made (266) and 3-pointers made (116). She ranked second in assists per game (7.1) and 3-pointers per game (3.87).

Clark has racked up several more accolades to go with her Dawn Staley Award. The former Dowling Catholic product was named Big Ten freshman of the year, a first-team all-conference selection, an Associated Press second-team all-American and WBCA co-freshman of the year.

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.