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Bowen Yang Gushes About Caitlin Clark and Iowa Team After “SNL” Cameo: 'The Most Stunning, Noble People' (Exclusive)

The SNL star tells PEOPLE that the history-making Iowa basketball player is "so charming and witty"

<p>Craig Barritt/Getty Images; Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images</p> From Left: Bowen Yang; Caitlin Clark on SNL

Craig Barritt/Getty Images; Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images

From Left: Bowen Yang; Caitlin Clark on SNL

After Caitlin Clark won the nation’s hearts during the NCAA tournament, she won over the cast of Saturday Night Live.

The history-making Iowa Hawkeyes guard made a surprise appearance on the late-night sketch comedy show’s Weekend Update segment on April 13, as she playfully called out Michael Che’s history of jabs at women’s sports and made him read some jokes of her own.

Bowen Yang tells PEOPLE that the 22-year-old and her teammates, Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin and Jada Gyamfi, who joined her at Studio 8H in Rockefeller Plaza, “were so cool.”

“She's so charming and witty,” Yang, 33, says on the red carpet at the Writers Guild Awards in New York City on April 14. “They were just the most stunning, noble people.”

Yang continues, “Athletes just have this air about them. They know they're amazing. I mean, these are people who have numeric attachments and values to their performance. That's something that comedians never have.”

Related: Caitlin Clark Posts Goodbye to Her Iowa Uniform and Says She Doesn't 'Regret' Anything After Championship Loss

<p>Craig Barritt/Getty Images; Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images</p> From Left: Bowen Yang; Caitlin Clark on SNL

Craig Barritt/Getty Images; Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images

From Left: Bowen Yang; Caitlin Clark on SNL

During Clark’s appearance on SNL, she tried her hand at some joke-writing and had Che, 40, read out a few of her quips. One of the laugh out loud jokes included, “This year, Caitlin Clark broke the record for 3-pointers in a single season, and I have three pointers for Michael Che. 1) Be 2) Funnier 3) Dumba--.”

She closed out the segment with a shoutout to all the female basketball players who have paved the way, naming “Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper, the great Dawn Staley, and my basketball hero, Maya Moore” in a stunning tribute.

“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 said.

Related: Dawn Staley Thanks Caitlin Clark in Her NCAA Championship Speech for ‘Lifting Up Our Sport’

On the Today show on April 15, the NCAA Division I leading all-time scorer reflected on her brief stint on SNL as she admitted that the show was scarier than the national championship game she’d played in the week prior. Iowa lost in the final to South Carolina, 87-75.

“It’s not even close,” she said. “My heart was, like, pounding out of my chest. But I did alright. It was super cool. And obviously to be a surprise guest like that’s a bucket list item that not a lot of people get to do.”

<p>Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images</p> From Left: Morgane Stapleton, Chris Stapleton, Emily Blunt, Ryan Gosling, Kate McKinnon and Caitlin Clark

Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images

From Left: Morgane Stapleton, Chris Stapleton, Emily Blunt, Ryan Gosling, Kate McKinnon and Caitlin Clark

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Clark remains in New York City for the 2024 WNBA Draft, which takes place April 15. In February, she announced her intention to declare for the draft on X (formerly known as Twitter), writing, "While this season is far from over and we have a lot more goals to achieve, it will be my last one at Iowa."

"It is impossible to fully express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me during my time at Iowa – my teammate, who made the last four years the best; my coaches, trainers and staff who always let me be me," she continued. "Most importantly, none of this would have been possible without my family and friends who have been by my side through it all. Because of you, my dreams came true."

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