IOWA CITY, Iowa (WHO) — The team is already historic.
“A super historic event that probably will only happen once,” said University of Iowa senior guard Caitlin Clark.
Their accomplishments have been groundbreaking. “Why not give my women an experience that not many around the country get to do,” asked University of Iowa women’s basketball head coach Lisa Bluder.
The moments they’ve provided have also been unforgettable. Clark said, “I’m super excited. It can’t come fast enough.”
For most teams, last season’s run to the national championship game was a once-in-a-lifetime journey. On Sunday, the Hawkeye women’s basketball team and their fans will be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition game outdoors at Kinnick Stadium against DePaul.
“This is an away football weekend and it’s going to be treated like a football weekend,” said Bluder.
Around 50,000 fans have already purchased tickets. Clark said, “Hopefully we have a late push to get that up even higher.”
Fitting for a record-breaking team that led the nation in scoring offense along with a record-setting senior in Caitlin Clark. “Just watching Nebraska volleyball and what they were able to do. Our’s will be on a smaller level but still, we are going to be able to break the women’s college basketball record for most people at a game.”
The Crossover at Kinnick idea came to light for coach Lisa Bluder after the resounding welcome home event the Hawkeyes received in Iowa City during last season’s NCAA Tournament.
Bluder said, “We had a celebration at the Pentacrest and there were 9,000 people there. I’m like 9,000 are coming to a celebration with no game or anything? It’s in the back of your mind that wrestling did this not too long ago very successfully.”
Because of the role Mother Nature could play on Sunday the reigning National Player of the Year has added another title to her résumé, meteorologist. “I’m gonna plan on shooting two airballs because of the wind,” said Clark jokingly.
Aside from letting it fly from the 50-yard line players are excited to slightly alter what has become one of the most heartfelt traditions in college football. “The Crossover at Kinnick is going to be really fun. Doing the wave from our perspective on the field and on the court is going to be awesome,” said sophomore Jada Gyamfi.
If the sky is truly the limit, then removing a roof and playing outdoors is only necessary for a team and player that continues to change the trajectory of women’s basketball.
The exhibition game against DePaul starts at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.