Caitlin Clark's FIBA U19 gold medal and tournament MVP highlight her basketball dominance

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

As the confetti poured on Team USA's dominant FIBA U19 squad, Caitlin Clark clutched the gold championship trophy and hollered with jubilation.

This Iowa women's basketball standout is quickly morphing into a worldwide sensation. 

After a week of solid stat lines and runaway routs that finished with another gold medal, Clark's basketball stardom took a further step toward the sport's highest peak. In winning tournament MVP at the U19 Women's World Cup in Hungary — while playing alongside some of college basketball's top rising stars — Clark adds another monumental chapter in a career already trending toward historic. 

Now, there was little doubt how Team USA's showing as a whole would go. Sunday's 70-52 championship win over Australia marked eight women's U19 gold medals in the last nine tries, culminating a week that saw Team USA win its seven games by an average of 47 points. Australia was the only squad that could stay within 30.

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However, on a team loaded with elite college sophomores and incoming freshmen, Clark ascension to the roster's top accentuates her passion to become not just one of the best — but the best. The 6-foot guard finished the week leading Team USA in points per game (14.3), assists per game (5.6), minutes per game (25.3) and 3-pointers made (20).

Here's a snapshot of how Clark's tournament went.

  • Aug. 7 vs. Italy: 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists in only 18 min.
  • Aug. 8 vs. Australia: 24 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 threes in 34 min. 
  • Aug. 10 vs. Egypt: 13 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 treys in 24 min. 
  • Aug. 11 vs. Taipei: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists in 21 min.
  • Aug. 13 vs. Spain: 17 points, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 treys in 27 min. 
  • Aug. 14 vs. Hungary: 14 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 treys in 23 min.
  • Aug. 15 vs. Australia: 9 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists in 30 min.           

The lopsided scores obviously limited Clark's minutes compared to what she sees each game at Iowa. But she still squeezed in plenty of production across the board before checking out each day. 

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The point totals certainly aren't surprising. Clark has put on a scoring clinic from the moment she stepped inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The rebounding and assists figures, however, further showcase Clark's prowess as a versatile weapon, capable of impacting an outcome no matter what defense she sees. Big Ten squads could hardly contain Clark. 

Clark now owns three gold medals, adding to the two she won with the U16 team in 2017 and the U19 team in 2019. She was merely just a role player the last time around in international competition, which came the summer before her senior year at Dowling Catholic. 

Two years later, it's Clark who's the center of attention.           

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.