December 7, 2023
Inside the moment Caitlin Clark joined the 3,000-point club
Iowa star hits milestone on in-state rival Iowa State's court
AMES, IOWA – Before Wednesday night, Iowa guard Caitlin Clark had never won a game at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, which is just about 40 miles north of her hometown of West Des Moines. But not only did she notch her first road victory against the Iowa State Cyclones, she also eclipsed the 3,000-point mark on a three-pointer with 6:11 left in the third quarter.
The feat came in front of a hostile sell-out crowd of more than 14,200, mostly clad in Cyclone cardinal and yellow.
“It’s always fun coming to Hilton, and I hadn’t won here yet,” Clark told reporters after the game. “Gotta give credit to their fans that were tremendous tonight; they’re loud, they support women’s basketball, they make it fun out there as a competitor. Whether I’m back in an Iowa uniform next year or not, I’m not going to come back and play here ever again. So, this was my last chance to do this and it feels good.”
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Clark ended up with 35 points in the Hawkeyes’ hard-fought 67-58 win over the Cyclones. She became the 15th NCAA Division I women’s player to reach 3,000 points, with 3,013 points and counting. She is the first player in men’s or women’s Division 1 to reach at least 3,000 points, 750 rebounds and 750 assists.
As with most of her record-setting accomplishments, this one wasn’t on Clark’s radar.
“I honestly didn’t know I was gonna eclipse 3,000 points until a few days ago,” she said. “ I was watching ESPN, I think it was the South Carolina game, and Debbie (Antonelli) started talking about it. It’s cool, especially to be able to do it here. I have a lot of family and attendance and were able to see that. But it was kind of the same when I broke the Iowa scoring record. We keep playing, we don’t celebrate it in a timeout or we don’t stop the game. That’s not what it’s about as long as we win. I probably wouldn’t be happy with scoring 3,000 points in a loss.”
It may be fitting that it happened in Ames as the most recent player to hit 3,000 career points was former Iowa State forward Ashley Joens, who reached the mark March 11, 2023, against Oklahoma State. The three-time Cheryl Miller Award winner finished her five-year career as Iowa State’s all-time leading scorer with 3,060 points.
The fact that two players born and raised in Iowa achieved the milestone both in the same calendar year wasn’t lost on Iowa State Head Coach Bill Fennelly.
“You’re talking about two of the best women’s collegiate athletics ever, and they are from our state, representing two great programs,” he told reporters after the game. “Everyone talks about the growth of the sport, which is true. But the sport has been really big in this state for a long time and everyone now is just kind of catching up a little bit. These are two dynamic players who did it right, made their schools relevant in a lot of ways on a national stage that maybe should have happened earlier. It’s a great thing and something both programs are proud of and people in our state should be very proud of as well.”
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Of the 15 women in NCAA Division I who have scored at least 3,000 points, a third – Lorri Bauman, who scored 3,115 points for Drake between 1980-1984 – is an Iowa native as well, playing for East High School in Des Moines.
Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder continues to be in awe of Clark’s growing list of accolades, and is proud of the way the rest of the team has responded.
“I love our team that they all understand how good Caitlin is and there’s no jealousy. There’s no let down from anybody else. Our circle is tight,” she told reporters after the game. “And I credit Caitlin for that because of the type of teammate she is. But I also credit the rest of our circle that they understand that when her light shines, it shines on all of us; it shines on the University of Iowa and the state of Iowa, and we’re going to enjoy it while we have it.”
The next milestone for Clark to hit is the Big Ten scoring record, currently held by Ohio State legend Kelsey Mitchell with 3,402 points scored in 139 games from 2014-2018. Kelsey Plum’s NCAA scoring record of 3,527 points during her 2013-2017 career at Washington is also on the horizon.