Taylor McCabe is one of the greatest girl’s basketball players to ever come through the state of Nebraska.

Her accolades speak for themselves.

The former Fremont Tiger-turned-Iowa Hawkeye shared her journey to being a part of women’s basketball history.

With a record-breaking career at Fremont that includes Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year honors, the state record for 3-pointers made in a season at 389, McCabe is third all-time in points scored while holding nearly every individual record at Fremont.

“I’m glad I still have that connection, and I can go back and see the basketball, track, my Gatorade banner, all those things up on the walls, my honor key plaque, just all the different things like that, and that’s so, so special,” McCabe said.

All those accolades and national attention led her down a path out of Nebraska, committing to play basketball at Iowa.

“I know that it was tough for a lot of people to understand why I was coming over here, but I hope that they kind of understand now and that I felt that I needed to do something different and that this was where I felt I needed to be. I make no bones about where I’m from and I love telling people about my story and I’m very thankful for that,” McCabe said.

That decision turns out to have been the right one.

In her two years at Iowa, McCabe has been to back-to-back national championships, is a two-time Big Ten champion and did it all while learning and playing behind one of the best college women’s basketball players of all time.

Caitlin Clark.

“People have said that we’re in a rebuilding phase, but it’s ridiculous to say that you’re going to rebuild back up to a Caitlin Clark, someone who’s literally never existed up to this point. So, we are getting some pieces together, and we’re going to be ready to go when it’s time,” McCabe said.

Iowa guard Taylor McCabe (2) celebrates with teammate guard Caitlin Clark (22) after making a 3-point basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Drake, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Charlie Neibergall

Now, being in the spotlight, it wasn’t easy.

“I’m also looking forward to not having five or six cameras on us at all times,” McCabe said.

But it was all worth it because what McCabe and her Hawkeye teammates did was about more than just them. It was about all women in sports.

“Say we lose a game on the road, people still want to see us and they still want our autographs and that is why they came here. They didn’t even really come to see us win, or they didn’t even come to see Caitlin have an insane game, a record-breaking game. They really just came to see us and the type of people we are and the type of players we are and the joy that we have when we’re out there playing together. But all those people are helping grow women’s sports just as much as we are, so they are just as important, honestly,” McCabe said.

This year’s Hawkeyes team played in front of a sold-out crowd or broke an attendance record in 37 of their 39 games.

That includes shattering the viewing record for the women’s national championship game against South Carolina, which saw on average 18.7 million viewers and peaked at 24 million — the men’s championship averaged just 14.82 million.

“Truthfully, I think that even with us playing and the amount of people that watched us I think that there’s been more emphasis on women’s soccer, women’s tennis and hopefully softball and volleyball and all those things going forward and I think that it could just be huge for everyone and I think this year is something nobody will forget for a long time,” McCabe said.

With Clark now heading to the WNBA, it’s time for a changing of the guard, with McCabe at the forefront.

“People told me since I got here that my size is a limit on my abilities, and deep down, I know that’s not true, and I worked my tail off postseason last year to put on more weight and get a lot stronger and I’m there now. I know how our coaches think at this point, I know what they want from me and so I’m gonna produce and I’m gonna give it to them,” McCabe said.

The chase for a third straight trip to the title game for McCabe and Iowa will start this summer.