Caitlin Clark selected No 1 by Indiana Fever in WNBA draft

Basketball Caitlin Clark seen at a ceremony for the WNBA draft
Caitlin Clark seen at a ceremony for the WNBA draft

Women's college basketball superstar Caitlin Clark has been drafted into the professional league as the first overall pick by the Indiana Fever.

"I can't wait," said Clark, 22, who had been expected to be first off the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) draft board.

She is considered one of the greatest collegiate players of all time.

Athletes from colleges across the US were also looking for their shot to go pro during the annual WNBA draft.

Clark is the all-time leading scorer across men's and women's college basketball, racking up the most three-point shots ever in a single season - a record previously held by professional player Steph Curry.

"I'm excited," the former Iowa Hawkeyes sensation said at a news conference after Monday's announcement.

"This is the most competitive league in the entire world, less than 144 spots. So you better bring it every single night."

Clark said in an interview with ESPN: "I dreamed of this moment since I was in second grade, and it's taken a lot of hard work, a lot of ups and downs."

She entered the WNBA draft after concluding her final season as a senior at Iowa University.

In her final game, Clark's Iowa Hawkeyes lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks on the sport's biggest stage - the women's NCAA tournament championship.

The game was one of the most viewed ever in college basketball - men's or women's - with 24 million tuning in. Tickets were sold for as high as $11,000 (£8,850).

Many attribute the swell in interest in women's college basketball to Clark. Her influence on the game has been dubbed the Caitlin Clark Effect.

WNBA draft watchers were also looking out on Monday for South Carolina University's Kamilla Cardoso, who was drafted third by the Chicago Sky; and Louisiana State University's Angele Reese, who was also drafted by Chicago as seventh pick.

Jenny Nyugen, owner of the Sports Braw, a bar in Oregon that shows only women's sports, told the BBC: "I've been watching women's basketball for decades.

"It feels like everyone else is just catching up... it's about damn time."