Iowa star Caitlin Clark faces BYU legend Jimmer Fredette in shooting competition on ‘Sue’s Places’


If there is one things Sue Bird knows, it’s distance shooting. These days, the recently retired four-time WNBA champion might not be getting up shots from distance, but she knows one player at the University of Iowa who can shoot, presumably, from anywhere.

In her new ESPN+ show “Sue’s Places,” the future Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer catches up with Caitlin Clark on her shot, playing at Iowa and smack-talk in women’s basketball.

“It’s a privilege to be here in Iowa shooting around the best in the college game and [learning] more about how she gets it done,” Bird says during the episode. The show premiered on the eve of Iowa’s game against Michigan on Thursday night.

Heading into the game, Clark needs only eight points to pass two-time WNBA champion Kelsey Plum (3,528) as the all-time NCAA women’s basketball scoring leader. Clark can also pass the legendary Lynette Woodard (3,649) as the all-time women’s Division I leading scorer.

Clark, of course, will have benefitted from the 3-point arc, something introduced to women’s basketball in 1986, Bird says in the episode. That’s five years after Woodard’s final season at Kentucky.

“Since then, the arc has gradually moved further away from the basket. It started 19 feet nine inches away and has continued to change. It now lies at 22 feet one and three quarters inches away,” Bird narrates in the episode. “But these days, it’s not uncommon to see shots taken from so deep that the closest landmark on the floor is a logo rather than a three point line.”

Clark is among the current NCAA players shooting from the logo, and beyond. Her shooting confidence comes from the hours she’s spent perfecting her form over the years. Clark’s first basketball coach, Brent — also know by her as dad — wouldn’t allow her to shoot 3s. Not that she could, anyway. Clark has always had a thin frame, something weight training has reformed to thin and strong.

Before she hit the weights, Clark had trouble reaching the rim from the perimeter and worked close to the rim to grow her confidence and perfect her shooting form.

“My dad was like, ‘Just stay around the rim,’ and that was always super important, just form shooting,” Clark said. “I probably didn’t like it at the time and I was mad at him about it. But looking back, shooting form fundamentals are the best thing.”

Eventually, her ridiculous range developed out of necessity.

“The way people guard me, they would just be physical and just push me off the line, make it harder to get to my spots,” Clark told Bird as the two chopped it up in the Iowa women’s basketball gym. “So, I kind of had to learn to create off the bounce a lot, and now I feel like I’m almost more comfortable having the ball in my hands and shooting off the dribble rather than a catch-and-shoot 3.”

Growing up, Clark watched UConn legend Maya Moore and wanted to emulate her game. However, as a clinical shooter, Clark admired former BYU star Jimmer Fredette.

“I vividly remember Jimmer Fredette’s tournament run,” Clark reflected. “Me and my cousins just would watch all of his games, watch his highlights on YouTube. So, I’ve always been a big Jimmer fan.”

Like Clark now, Fredette gave opposing defenses fits by pulling up from presumably anywhere. The former BYU standout most recently played professional basketball in China and helped the Team USA 3×3 men’s team to a silver medal at the 2023 3×3 World Cup.

Bird coordinated a shooting competition between Fredette and Clark at the Iowa gym. Although not shooting herself, Bird did pick the spots, marked by her own adhesive fathead. I won’t spoil the episode by telling you who won, but be sure to stick around for the end credits to see just how competitive Clark really is.

And if you enjoy hoops, you’ll likely enjoy “Sue’s Places.” Season 1 will run through April 3, two days before the 2024 NCAA Women’s Tournament Final Four games. Guests include UConn coach Geno Auriemma and current Huskies players Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd. Other women’s basketball standouts include Lindsay Whalen, Dawn Staley and Natasha Cloud. Bird rounds out her celebrity guest list with Danny Manning, Mario Chalmers, Jason Sudeikis and the legendary Coach K

If you want more co-ed shooting competitions, be sure to tune-in for the 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend for the showdown between reigning NBA 3-Point champion Steph Curry and reigning WNBA champion Sabrina Ionescu.

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