Iowa’s Caitlin Clark becomes all-time NCAA women’s scorer with 3,528 career points — and counting

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark has been making lots of noise in women’s sports for the past several years — and Thursday night she made history, too.

When she scored 8 points early in the game against Michigan, Clark became the NCAA women’s career scoring leader. And she did it in front of a home crowd in Iowa City.

It didn’t take long to reach the milestone Thursday. She made the first two baskets for Iowa of the game — a 2-pointer and a 3-pointer — drawing her within three of the eight points she needed.

She dropped a 3-pointer with 7:40 left in the first quarter, still near the Iowa logo in the middle of the court, to reach it.

The game paused for a timeout, Clark hugged teammates, and the announcer broadcast the feat to the cheering crowd.

At halftime, Clark expressed appreciation for her teammates and coaches, but her mind was still on the game.

“Just good to be in the same realm of a lot of really, really good players,” Clark said at halftime. “Lucky to do it, because I have really good teammates, really good coaches and a great support system that surrounds me — but we need to play better defense.”

Clark went on to score a career-high 49 points to lead her team past Iowa, 106-89.  

A celebration was held on court after the game, and family, friends and coaches in videos played on a screen above shared memories, congratulations and well wishes.

It was the fourth time this season she tallied at least 40 points in a game.

With four regular-season games left, Clark is likely to put some more distance between herself and the previous record, as she’s averaging more than 32 points a game.

Kelsey Plum previously held the record of 3,527 career point, which she set in 2017. Clark came within seven points of that benchmark Sunday, when No. 4 Iowa’s four-game winning streak came to an end with an 82-79 loss to Nebraska.

Plum, who played for Washington from 2013 to 2017, said last week that she’s “grateful to pass that baton” to Clark.

“I hope everyone in the media takes time to understand that she is not just a basketball player but a young woman that has feelings and emotions,” Plum told The Washington Post. “She carries it with grace, but there’s a lot to handle there. If anything, make sure that we show her love outside of her performance.”

Clark, a senior who still has another season of eligibility remaining, if she wants it, recorded the 1,000th assist of her college career Sunday, making her the sixth woman in college basketball history to achieve such a feat.

Clark, a 6-foot guard from West Des Moines, and her dynamic game have captivated the nation for two seasons, including last year’s run to the NCAA title game and her being named the Associated Press player of the year. 

More than just her pursuit of the record, her long 3-point shots and flashy passes have raised interest in the women’s game to unprecedented levels. Arenas have been sold out for her games, home and away, and television ratings have never been higher.

“I dreamed of doing really big things, playing in front of big crowds, going to the Final Four, maybe not quite on this level,” Clark told The Associated Press. “I think that’s really hard to dream. You can always exceed expectations, even your own, and I think that’s been one of the coolest parts.”

Clark has been making a name for herself since middle school. That’s when Jan Jensen, the assistant head coach for Iowa’s women’s basketball team, first heard about her as a sixth grader in West Des Moines.

“Yeah, she’s diff. You could just tell,” Jensen said. “They’re easy to identify but really hard to get. Everybody can see the true, true ones. The trick is to get them.”

Women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King was among those celebrating Clark’s achievement.

“She’s made history!” King wrote on X.

Now that she’s got the NCAA record, Clark is aiming for the all-time major women’s college scoring record of 3,649, set by Kansas star Lynette Woodard from 1977 to 1981. During Woodard’s era, women’s sports were governed by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. Francis Marion’s Pearl Moore holds the overall women’s record with 4,061 points from 1975 to 1979.

The NCAA career scoring record in men’s basketball is held by the late Pete Maravich, with 3,667 points. He played for LSU from 1968 to 1970. Maravich, known as “Pistol Pete,” died in 1988.

“It’s pretty unreal, this crowd’s unreal,” Clark said after her history-making game. “I’m just really grateful, honestly, to be able to be here and make so many of my dreams come true.”

She said she was lucky to have her teammates and their support, and the support of the fans.

“We’re not done,” she said of the Hawkeyes. “We’re still looking for a little more.”

Asked about how her younger self might feel if she could see her now, Clark said she might say: “never stop dreaming.”

“And I still keep dreaming, and I’m 22 years old,” Clark said. “So never stop.”

Angela Yang

Angela Yang is a culture and trends reporter for NBC News.

Phil Helsel

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

The Associated Press




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