No 3-pointer is too far for Caitlin Clark! No one bats an eye anymore when she pulls up from 35 feet

No one bats an eye anymore when she pulls up from 35 feet. It is why millions watch. It is why no ticket goes unsold.

The collective glee was audible inside the sold-out Target Center when Caitlin Clark stepped across half-court, picked up her dribble and lifted her feet, knowing she was set to play the hit single they came to see.

“No shot is a bad shot when you can shoot it as well as she can,” Steph Curry said last year. “When she crosses half-court, she’s in her range.”

Caitlin Clark, who had 28 points and 15 assists, celebrates after hitting a 3-pointer during Iowa's 95-68 win over Michigan.

It is easy for Iowa coach Lisa Bluder to give the senior such freedom.

Clark — who had 28 points and 15 assists while hitting 4 of 11 3-pointers in Iowa’s 95-68 win over Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals Saturday — has made more 3-pointers beyond 25 feet than any college player (including men) since CBB Analytics started tracking such shots five years ago.

Her shooting percentage on such 3s (39.3) is actually higher than her overall 3-point percentage (38.5) and nearly 10 percent higher than the Division I average.

Caitlin Clark, putting up a trey during Iowa's win, has turned long-range 3-point shooting into an art form.

It is easy for Division I’s all-time leading scorer to decide to pull up from the logo. It is what the crowd wants.

It is what she does better than any player in the history of the women’s game.

It is what she’s been doing since middle school in suburban Iowa.

“At first, my reaction was, ‘That’s a bad shot,’ and her reaction was, ‘No, no, I can make it,” said Dickson Jensen, her former AAU coach, who estimates Clark went months-long stretches making at least 500 3s per practice.

“She was probably hitting 15 or 20 percent when she was 13. And the percentages kept going up … She’d miss seven in a row, and I’d say, ‘Cait, that’s enough,’ and she’d say, ‘What are you talking about? I’m the best player here.’ ”

That was evident from an early age, as she dominated all-boys leagues and gained national recognition.

It also earned Clark the right to experiment, to fail, to learn, to have fun.

Eventually, it became clear that she wasn’t settling, but setting up her opponents.

Caitlin Clark shoots a 3-pointer over Lauren Hansen during the second half of Iowa's win.

“It didn’t used to be as entertaining because she wasn’t as efficient,” said Kristin Meyer, Clark’s Dowling Catholic High School coach.

“I wasn’t always happy about it, but as she grew as a player, she earned the right to have more freedom in her shot selection. She needs a little leeway to just take some of those wild shots to test her range. When she makes them, the momentum swings incredibly big.

“It started because it’s fun. The crowd goes, ‘Oooh,’ and ‘Aaah,’ and she loves that, getting the crowd fired up.. She’s excited, and the team’s excited. She works on those shots in an empty gym because she likes that challenge.”

She doesn’t need precedent. Only possibility. Only imagination.

When Clark was 11, her soccer team surrendered the first goal in a tournament championship game.

The star player then approached her coach, Ross Moffat, with a farfetched plan to even the score.

“She said, ‘Can I just shoot from the kick off?’ ” Moffat said. “The ref blew the whistle, a teammate touched it to her and she kicked it from the halfway line over everyone, sailed over the goalkeeper and landed in the top of the net. Tie game, two seconds later.

“The opposition was gobsmacked. She turned and did the same little shrug celebration she does, putting her arms out. She has that knack for improvisation, of finding a solution that another player wouldn’t be able to see. She has that maverick mentality.”

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