Local Olympic medalist, girl’s basketball coach reacts to excitement Caitlin Clark brought to sport

PITTSBURGH — Suzie McConnell-Serio’s resume is seemingly endless.

She’s an Olympic gold medalist, once named the WNBA coach of the year and holds the NCAA Division I record for assists, but she’s never seen anything quite like what happened on the court this past year.

“I would never have imagined that one player could single-handedly elevate the game of women’s basketball like Caitlin Clark has,” McConnell-Serio told Channel 11 in a one-on-one interview.

Record audiences watched Clark and Iowa’s journey to the national championship game.

Now, WNBA ticket sales are already up as she, LSU’s Angel Reese and Connecticut’s Paige Bueckers prepare to enter the league in a star-studded draft class.

“The excitement is going to follow (Clark) into the WNBA,” McConnell-Serio said. “People will tune in just to see if what she had done in college is now going to happen in the WNBA.”

McConnell-Serio is now a girl’s basketball coach at Upper St. Clair High School. She says Clark has made the biggest impact in youth gyms.

She sees it in the eyes of her players.

“There are little girls out there that will dream to be the next Caitlin Clark,” she said. “It’s so exciting to see the impact she has had on these young girls, and what they can dream of becoming someday just because of a little orange basketball, and when you work hard, great things like that can happen to you.”

Clark left her fingerprints all over college basketball, but there’s one thing from 1988 untouched.

“My assist record is still intact from Caitlin Clark,” McConnell-Serio said with a laugh.

McConnell-Serio finished her college career at Penn State with 1,307 assists. Clark is third all-time with 1,144.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW