Is Caitlin Clark's legacy damaged by second national title loss?

Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes came up short for the second time in the national championship. Does the second national title loss hurt her legacy?
NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - National Championship
NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - National Championship / Jason Miller/GettyImages

As Raven Johnson dribbled the rest of the shot clock out, Caitlin Clark looked around the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland before checking out of the game with 20.2 seconds left for the last time in a Hawkeyes jersey. South Carolina went on to win their third title in program history as they defeated Iowa 87-75 in the National Championship.

Clark finished the game with 30 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists while shooting 38 percent from 3. She started the game off hot as the Hawkeyes dominated the first quarter. However, the tide would turn as the GameCocks made some adjustments.

After the first quarter, South Carolina started to switch everything on defense and Johnson took on the assignment of guarding Clark. Although she finished the game with 30 points, it was clear that she was gassed and needed her team to carry the offensive load.

Caitlin Clark wrote herself into the record books this season but, after losing in the championship game for the second time, critics questioned whether or not Clark's legacy would be tainted.

Caitlin Clark's legacy is intact

The second loss in the national championship does not damage Clark's legacy because of how she has elevated women's basketball. The national championship reached a record 18.7 million viewers for the historic game.

Throughout this season, the Iowa legend has broken record after record. This season alone she has become Iowa's leading scorer, the Division I women's career scoring leader, the all-time NCAA Division I scorer (men and women's) and the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Tournament history.

For the last two seasons, everyone has been talking about No. 22 on Iowa. The GOAT conversation has been discussed for women's college basketball this season just as much as the Michael Jordan and LeBron James debate in the NBA.

No matter what side you take, the conversations are happening and people are tuning in because of her individual domination in college basketball.

Caitlin Clark's game-changing ability

Clark has captivated the nation with her ability to score from anywhere and her fearless demeanor. Her game helped drive record viewership numbers throughout the season.

Clark's scoring is something that the world may not see again at the college level, but one aspect of her game that is not talked about enough is her passing.

The Iowa native is showtime on the fast break and has the basketball on a string. She is lethal because she can finish at the rim, throw a full-court outlet pass, or pull up for 3 from the logo. One could argue that despite her losing in the national championship the last two seasons, she played against two complete teams that had more firepower. She twice played undefeated South Carolina teams and came out of those matchups with a 1-1 record.

Iowa to the WNBA

In addition to her impact worldwide, the Iowa native made the Hawkeyes relevant over her last four years. She will help them with future recruiting and will give back to her institution. Since her freshman year, Clark's presence has improved other universities' game attendance by150 percent when Iowa comes into town.

The Hawkeyes star will most likely be drafted No. 1 overall by the Indiana Fever and will change that franchise in many ways. She will need to develop some aspects of her game like developing a floater, and decision-making on offense and defense.

Needless to say, she will be a great pro and the hype around her has already benefited the Fever. The franchise has increased ticket sales and they featured Clark on a few social media posts (possible tampering but neither here nor there). She also liked all three tweets from Indiana hinting at the No. 1 pick.

Clark and Aliyah Boston could eventually become the greatest duo of all time in the WNBA. Only time will tell how the two develop and play together but ticket sales, merchandise sales, and viewership will improve.

Indiana has not won a championship since the 2012 season but the talk around drafting Clark has already made them relevant again and once they draft her they will continue to gain traction.

It's safe to say that Clark's legacy is intact because of the attention she brings to the game, her draft status, her ability to score at the highest level and her untapped potential.