Iowa star Caitlin Clark is the top pick in the WNBA and made a cameo appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live’

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Iowa guard Caitlin Clark reacts to the crowd before cutting a piece of the net after Iowa defeated LSU in an Elite Eight round college basketball game during the NCAA Tournament, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

NEW YORK (AP) — At Monday night’s WNBA Draft Caitlan Clark was as expected the top pick going to the Indiana Fever. But 48 hours before she was the darling of the WNBA she made a surprise trip to NBC.

Live from New York, it’s Caitlin Clark!

The Iowa star made a surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live” during the show’s “ Weekend Update ” segment.

She said she first heard about the possibility at the Final Four although discussions had been ongoing for a couple of weeks.

“I didn’t know the script until I showed up and saw it, and was like this is very good,” Clark told the AP on Sunday. “Set them straight about women’s sports was pretty phenomenal. The crowd was great. Way more nervous than I get for a basketball game. A bucket list item.”

The NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer showed up after anchor Michael Che made a joke about Iowa retiring her jersey. Clark got the last laugh as Che then read some more jokes that Clark said she wrote that made fun of the comedian.

“A lot of cast members came up to me and were so excited I was there and said they always watched us,” Clark said. “Before they pushed me in on the chair my heart was beating through my chest.”

The Iowa native then delivered a heartfelt message about her basketball future, thanking many of the great players who came before her.

“I’m sure it will be a big first step for me, but it’s just one step for the WNBA thanks to all the great players like Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper, the great Dawn Staley, and my basketball hero, Maya Moore,” Clark said. “These are the women that kicked down the door so I could walk inside. So, I want to thank them tonight for laying the foundation.”

Clark came back on stage at the end of the show, bringing her former Hawkeye teammates Kate Martin, Gabbie Marshall and Jada Gyamfi with her.

“It’s so cool, they got into New York City yesterday,” Clark said of her teammates. “The producer asked if they wanted to go up on stage at the end. They got a little shellshocked at first, but it’s cool that I can share these moments with them.”

Clark watched the first half of the show from the dressing room so as not to spoil the surprise for the fans. She got to see musical guest Chris Stapleton’s second performance from on the set after her appearance.

It’s been a busy week for Clark since her team lost to South Carolina in the national championship game in Cleveland. She went to Los Angeles to accept the John R. Wooden Award, had a rally at the Iowa arena to celebrate the team and now is in New York.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball