From Prayer to Pointers: How Faith Fuels Caitlin Clark’s Game

6 Things to Know About Her Catholic Faith Ahead of NCAA Final Four

Iowa's Caitlin Clark shoots during a practice for an NCAA Women's Final Four semifinals basketball game Thursday, April 4, 2024, in Cleveland.
Iowa's Caitlin Clark shoots during a practice for an NCAA Women's Final Four semifinals basketball game Thursday, April 4, 2024, in Cleveland. (photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP)

Caitlin Clark has been taking the internet by storm this past week with good reason. Star of the University of Iowa women’s basketball team, they took out defending champs LSU on Monday, and may now potentially be the last team standing as we round out March Madness 2024. 

With the first game of the Final Four tipping off tonight, sports gurus are taking to social media to have heated debates about her G.O.A.T. status. The Catholic rising star has shattered an impressive record, scoring more points than anyone in college basketball, men and women. She was also just named the Naismith National Player of the Year, a title she first achieved last year.

And did I mention her ability to drain a three close to center court? The girl's got game. And murmurs are also rippling about another integral aspect of Caitlin Clark: her fierce Catholic faith.

Here are 6 things to know about the 6-foot tall guard's faith ahead of her quest to clinch an NCAA championship:

1. Clark, a native of Des Moines, grew up attending Catholic school. When she's home, she is a parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in West Des Moines, That's where she went to elementary school, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, before going to Dowling Catholic High. 

2. Clark is vocal about her own faith on and off the court. Playing Varsity basketball for Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, she told the Des Moines Register in 2018, “We get to live our faith every day. Dowling starts every day with prayer and ends every day with prayer. This is a big reason why Dowling has such a special culture and is such a special place to go to school.” 

3. Her brother also plays college football and is quick to keep her focused on faith. Even with a busy football season and college classes, Blake Clark who leads the Iowa State Cyclones as quarterback finds time to remind his sister to pray the Rosary and not to miss Mass near her campus. Parishioners say she is there more often than not. A St. Benedict bracelet was also spotted on her brother during the Final Four last year. He prayed the Rosary ahead of the game, the last decade recited inside the arena. 

4. Actually her entire family is very sports-minded. Clark's grandfather was the coach for Dowling Catholic High's football team. Her father played both baseball and basketball in college. And her mother Anne thought her daughter would wind up at Notre Dame. 

5. Her high school basketball coach witnessed her devotion. Kristin Meyer coached Clark during her years at Dowling and noticed her fervent faith and the player's understanding of the many gifts God has given her. “It’s not just about scoring a lot of points or winning; she loves playing in front of a sold out arena because she gets to entertain people and bring a smile to their face," Meyer told Crux in a recent interview. "For two hours she lets them have this great experience and she takes that pretty seriously, and knows that those gifts from God are an opportunity to bring joy to other people.” 

6. Father Joseph Pins, pastor of St. Francis, Clark's hometown parish has a strong relationship with the entire family. Father Pins told Crux about how the entire parish community is so proud of all of Clark's accomplishments including himself. “We’re proud of our alumna who has done such a great, great, great, thing in life. It’s always good as we form children to watch this go through and see success not just on the basketball court but also in her faith life.” 

Make sure to catch Caitlin Clark on the court this evening as Iowa takes on UConn at 630 p.m. PT/930 p.m. ET from Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. The game will be aired on ESPN.