COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Caitlin Clark said she was “OK” after she was accidently knocked down by a fan running onto the court after No. 2 Iowa was upset by No. 18 Ohio State on Sunday.
The Hawkeyes star was running off the court with her head down when a female fan, trying to film the on-court celebration, banged into Clark. She fell to the floor under one the baskets as personnel and teammates rushed to her aid.
“I was just trying to exit the court as quickly as possible, so I started running and I was absolutely just hammered by somebody trying to run onto the court,” Clark said after the 100-92 overtime loss. “Basically blindsided and, you know, kind of scary, could have caused a pretty serious injury to me and knocked the wind out of me. But luckily my teammates kind of picked me up and got me off the court. Their AD already came and apologized to me, so I really appreciate that.”
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith went to the Hawkeyes locker room and apologized to Clark and Iowa coach Lisa Bluder. Buckeyes coach Kevin McGuff also issued an apology.
Clark didn’t mention it, but Bluder said her star player, who scored 45 points in the game, also was harassed while leaving the court.
“You know, it’s unfortunate the game ended that way and Caitlin gets taken out on the floor,” a visibly angry Bluder said. “Gets some inappropriate words yelled at her by fans, by students. That just should not happen, it should not happen. Our players should be safe, they should be able to walk off the floor. That’s very disappointing.”
More than 18,000 people attended, which was the most ever to watch a women's basketball game at Ohio State. After the No. 18 Buckeyes won finished the 100-92 overtime win, fans streamed past security and onto the floor.
“(Clark) had such a spectacular performance today, and she's such a great player and that should never happen,' McGuff said. "And so I feel really badly about it and hopefully it doesn't affect her moving forward. But that is extremely unfortunate."
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll