February 15, 2024 

Caitlin Clark breaks NCAA Division I scoring record

Iowa star took less than 3 minutes to make history

Caitlin Clark took care of business early tonight against Michigan. Clark scored the first eight points for Iowa, which included a record-setting signature logo three-pointer. With 3,569 points (and counting), the senior guard now holds the NCAA Division I scoring record, officially passing Kelsey Plum of Washington.

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Coming into the game, the Hawkeye phenom only needed seven points to tie Plum, who scored 3,527 from 2012–17. For good measure, Clark quickly posted 23 points — in the first quarter. 

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Though Clark had previously said she didn’t want to stop the game after setting the record, head Coach Lisa Bluder called a time out shortly after Clark’s record-breaking shot at the 7:48 mark in the first quarter. Clark’s Iowa teammates and coaches, and even some photographers, quickly surrounded her as they celebrated the moment together.

Clark broke the record in her 126th game, all starting for the Hawkeyes. At her scoring rate of 32.1 points per game, in the next three or four games she will likely surpass Lynette Woodard‘s 3,649 points, which she scored at Kansas from 1977–81. Because Woodard played while women’s college basketball was governed by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), her record is not recognized by the NCAA. 

Woodard, who lives in Lawrence, Kansas, released a statement today about Clark’s achievements: 

“I want to congratulate Caitlin Clark on her sensational career and becoming the new Division I NCAA scoring leader,” she wrote. “In 1982, when the NCAA began offering women’s championships, I was the first female athlete to earn the NCAA’s Top V Award. At that time, the NCAA recognized my career scoring record of 3,649 points, all achieved in my four seasons at the University of Kansas.”

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“I am proud of my record that has stood for 43 years. I played from 1977 until 1981, when women’s basketball was governed by the [AIAW]. Back then, collegiate women’s players used a larger basketball, and we did not have a 3-point line. In honoring Caitlin’s accomplishments, I hope that we can also shine a light on the pioneers who paved the way before her,” Woodard continued.

“Women’s basketball has a glorious history that predates the NCAA’s involvement. I applaud Caitlin for everything she has done and look forward to watching her score many more points for years to come.”

During Sunday’s loss to unranked Nebraska, Clark had 31 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 4 steals, becoming the only Division I women’s player to reach 3,000 points and 1,000 assists.

Lark Birdsong, Iowa women’s basketball program’s first coach who led the team from 1974-1979, is a season ticket holder and has been intertwined with the team and staff. Birdsong told The Next she is proud of how the Hawkeyes have contributed to growing interest in women’s sports.

“In terms of the University of Iowa and Caitlin Clark and how they’ve advanced women’s basketball, I think Iowa basketball for women is phenomenal and it has grown the game exponentially in a few short years and it’s largely Lisa Bluder, her players and her staff because they’re just top-notch people,” Birdsong said.

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As the Hawkeyes closed in on a 106–89 victory over the Wolverines, Clark exited the game with just over a minute left. Clark’s 49 points were enough for not just the all-time NCAA Division I scoring record, but also her own career-high and Iowa’s program single-game scoring record, previously owned by Megan Gustafson. Clark shot 16-for-31 from the field, including 9-for-18 from three and a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line

Even as the spotlight shone brightest on Clark’s scoring, her playmaking couldn’t be ignored: she also dished out 13 assists, meaning she had scored or assisted on well over half of the Hawkeye’s 106 points.

“Caitlin is as special as they come. She’s unselfish, she’s joyful, she’s loyal, she’s exquisitely skilled,” Birdsong said. “There’s one stat for me that sets her at the top of the top of the game, and it’s her combination of points and assists.”

Written by Angie Holmes

Angela Holmes is the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) reporter for The Next. Based in the Midwest, she also covers the Big Ten and Big 12.

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