March 10, 2024

Spending the Weekend with Caitlin Clark


Spending the Weekend with Caitlin Clark

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 10, 2024

Like most women who grew up in Iowa, Miss Sheri has been a bit obsessed with watching Caitlin Clark over the past couple of years.  So when we heard the Big10 Women's Basketball Tournament was coming to Minneapolis, we jumped at the chance to buy tickets.

At least we were able to stare at Bob Dylan while waiting in line. That's always very comforting.

Of course everyone wants to see Caitlin Clark. She's been an absolute phenomenon. She has become the leading career scorer across all NCAA divisions, the only player to lead her conference in scoring and assists for four seasons, and has broken records for 30+ point performances. She also broke Steff Curry's college career 3 point record during this tournament. It's such an awesome thing to see happen for women's sports.

Of course she had some help and her Iowa Hawkeyes were pursuing a Threepeat to win the Big10 tournament for a third year in a row. We were excited to be there to cheer them on!

Lisa Bluder, their coach, is no slouch either. She's made significant achievements of her own by becoming the all-time wins leader among Big Ten women's basketball coaches in conference victories.

I'm sure some of my high school buddies will call me a hypocrite for cheering on the Hawkeyes since I've been much more of a Gophers fan since I moved to Minnesota more than 31 years ago. However I'll make the argument that I earned the right to jump on the bandwagon as I did go to school in Iowa, actually went to University of Iowa for one semester, and my wife was a 4-year varsity basketball player at her Iowa high school. I still felt like a bit of a fraud though, but who cares. It's such a cool story!

On Wednesday night, we did get to cheer for Minnesota as they took on Rutgers. Iowa didn't play that night so we were able to get seats on the sideline for the game. It was fun to watch the home town team get the victory by a score of 77-69. Unfortunately they didn't fare as well on Thursday when they were beat by Michigan to end their run. I'm kind of glad we didn't have to watch them play Iowa.

Our first chance to see the Hawkeyes play was on Friday night against Penn State. We were lucky enough to get lower level seats for this game and watched Caitlin get a double double as they went on to win the game by a score of 95-62.

Everybody was pretty excited about that.

Well, everybody except for the Penn State Players.

We had a lot of fun memories singing the Iowa fight song and joining the crowd spelling out I-O-W-A with each side of the court taking a letter. The cheer was helped by the fact that approximately 90 percent of the people in the audience were there to cheer on the Hawkeyes.

On Saturday, Michigan gave the Hawkeyes a bit more of a fight leading the game by a score of 25-22 after the first quarter. But Caitlin had a double double by half time and the Black and Gold eventually won the game by a score of 95-68.

On Sunday, we left for the game three hours early, but still ended up in the upper deck for the championship between Iowa and Nebraska.

The final game was a great one. Caitlin had a tough first half going 0-9 from the three point line in the first half. She and the team turned things around in the second and overcame an 11 point halftime deficit to take the game into overtime. It was a tense time and everyone was on the edge of their seats to see who would eventually be crowned the winners.

In the end, the Hawkeyes won the game and hit the threepeat for the Big 10 tournament.  We spent a lot of hours downtown to be part of it, but it was so worth it.  We really enjoyed ourselves and look forward to seeing how they do in the NCAA Tournament next.   
The word is Fight! Fight! Fight! for Iowa!

Attention friends and neighbors. My old buddy, Mike Lins, who was Luke & Avery's robotics coach is running for the Minnesota Valley Electric Coop board. Mike is a great guy who served our country for 35 years in the National Guard and guided many young minds in Prior Lake High School to build some pretty incredible robots. When you get your ballots be sure to vote for him and my other buddy, Tom Wolf, at the same time. Thanks for your consideration!!
@toddswank The line to see Caitlyn Clark. #caitlin #hawkeyes #iowa #basketball ♬ Powerful Women - Pitbull & Dolly Parton
We've been to several sold out Minnesota Timberwolves games at Target Center before but for some silly reason, the only tickets we were able to purchase were general admission. This meant we had to show up 3 hours before game each day and we still ended up in the nosebleed seats every game but 1. I read this was the first time in the 31 year history of the event it's ever sold out tickets. Just my luck!!

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