November 13, 2023
How Caitlin Clark broke Iowa’s all-time scoring record
With 2,813 points, Hawkeye star now stands all alone on the top of Iowa’s scoring list
On a strong inside and-one move, Caitlin Clark became Iowa’s all-time leading scorer halfway into the third quarter of the Hawkeyes’ 94-53 blow-out win over Northern Iowa (UNI) on Sunday.
The atmosphere was electric even before the game started as a record crowd of 6,790 packed into the McCleod Center in Cedar Falls for UNI’s first sell-out in program history. While the student section of the purple-clad crowd didn’t seem too impressed with Clark’s record-breaking performance on a 24-10-11 triple double, UNI head coach Tanya Warren heaped on the praise after the game.
“Caitlin Clark is the best player in the country. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about that,” she told reporters. “You’re not going to stop her; you’re not going to contain her. You’ve just got to make things tough for her… She’s the best to ever put it on, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see another like her in my lifetime.”
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Obviously, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder also has strong sentiments toward her star player.
“It’s so gratifying because Caitlin chose to come to the University of Iowa when she could have gone anywhere in the country,” Bluder told reporters. “I’m so proud that she took a chance with us, even though it wasn’t a huge chance coming off an Elite Eight, but still did.”
With 2,813 points, Clark now stands all alone on the top Iowa’s scoring list — men’s or women’s — surpassing Megan Gustafson’s record of 2,804 set in 2019.
“Obviously, it’s special getting to do it with this group,” Clark told reporters “Megan reached out to me last night and basically just told me, ‘go break it, you deserve this.’ I think that just speaks to the culture that Coach Bluder has built here. She’s developed really great players, but also people that want to see other people succeed. I think that goes for my teammates as well. I wouldn’t be in this spot if it wasn’t for them; they all celebrate it, too.”
Clark was a senior at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, during Gustafson’s senior year in 2018-19 in which she won the Naismith and AP National Player of the Year awards, among others.
“I loved watching Megan. I thought what she did embodied what Iowa is all about,” Clark said. “Megan’s been our biggest fan on this whole journey, whether it was Monika’s biggest fan — Monika [Czinano] really learned everything from Megan. I think that speaks to our culture and our program. She was always there supporting our entire group when we went on our run last year. And that’s not fake. Megan is one of the best people of all time.
“Records are meant to be broken,” she added. “I hope Iowa has a really good player one day that can break mine too.”
Gustafson attended the Crossover at Kinnick game Oct. 15 before returning to London to join the London Lions and spoke to The Next about the impending fall of her once informidable record.
“That’s gonna be gone soon,” she said with a smile. “I mean, records are meant to be broken. That just shows where our program is and how good it is and how good it’s continuing to be, that we’re getting players at that caliber right away. It’s incredible, just to be a part of that. When I broke it, I was really thankful for everyone that got me there, but now the program’s just taken off and I couldn’t be more proud.”
While there were plenty of Hawkeye fans on hand to watch Clark’s latest feat, the record-breaking crowd heavily supported the home-team Panthers. That hostile environment is just a precursor of things to come on the road this season as opposing fans snatch up tickets to see the reigning National Player of the Year. And that suits Clark just fine.
“I think this group is really honestly used to it at this point. I think it would throw us off more if people weren’t there. It’s just what you kind of expect going into it,” she said. “We expected a great crowd, a loud crowd. And at the same time, a lot of Iowa fans are going to be there, too. It’s not anything we shy away from. As competitors, we love it, we embrace it.”
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Although Clark says she doesn’t pay close attention to records and when they are coming up, well — the rest of the women’s basketball world does.
The next milestone for her 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. If she keeps up her current 32 ppg pace, Clark could break that record by mid-to-late January.
Kelsey Plum’s NCAA scoring record of 3,527 points during her 2013-2017 career at Washington is certainly attainable by the end of the season. But for now, Clark is focusing on avenging Iowa’s 84-83 loss last season to Kansas State as the Wildcats face the Hawkeyes in Iowa City this Thursday.
“It gets you off on the right note, but at the same time I think our group is mature enough to understand this is just a starting block,” Clark said of Iowa’s 3-0 start. “Our schedule is not easy. That’s what prepares you for really tough days in March.”