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The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Caitlin Clark sets new NCAA women’s basketball point record

Caitlin+Clark+spreading+her+arms+wide+celebrating
Caitlin Clark has had an unprecedented career thus far, cementing her place in NCAA history. Photo by John Mac | Courtesy of Flickr

Caitlin Clark officially asserted her supreme dominance over women’s college basketball on Thursday, Feb. 15, when she broke the NCAA Division 1 all-time women’s scoring record.

Clark needed seven points to break the record entering an Iowa Hawkeyes’ game against the Michigan Wolverines, and it took her just two minutes and 12 seconds to sear her name into collegiate basketball history.

Clark opened the scoring with a layup to give Iowa a 2-0 advantage. On the ensuing possession, Clark worked off a screen to drill a wide-open 3-pointer. A minute and a half later, Clark dribbled up the court, crossed over at half-court and pulled up from logo range to sink a historic 3-point shot. The Iowa home crowd erupted, and Clark showed enthusiasm as she jogged down the court. Everyone at the game had just witnessed history.

Clark finished the game with a career-high 49 points and a brand-new NCAA women’s record of 3,569 points and counting.

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The previous record of 3,527 was held by Kelsey Plum, who played at the University of Washington. Plum averaged 20.9, 22.6, 25.9 and 31.7 points per game in her four years as a Huskie. Clark currently averages 32.8 points per game for the Hawkeyes, which tops any of Plum’s career averages.

Plum never won a National Championship in college, but she has had massive success in the WNBA. Plum won back-to-back championships with the Las Vegas Aces in 2022 and 2023, in seasons in which she averaged 20.2 and 18.7 points per game, respectively. Plum’s collegiate and WNBA success has paved the way for Clark to follow, but Clark’s influence has transcended women’s basketball.

College sports experienced a stark change when name, image and likeness deals became available to athletes. Previously, collegiate athletes weren’t allowed to market themselves for money. On July 1, 2021, Iowa became fair game for NIL deals, and Clark has since taken full advantage.

Clark has NIL deals with Nike, Gatorade, Buick, State Farm, Bose and many more companies. Clark’s State Farm commercials have become a mainstay on television in Iowa. With all of Clark’s NIL deals and record-breaking performances, it’s now impossible to ignore her existence.

Sports fans are flocking to watch her and are avidly following her career. Iowa vs. LSU’s national championship matchup featured a sold-out 19,482-person crowd. In an Iowa vs. DePaul exhibition game in October 2023, Iowa broke the NCAA women’s basketball single-game attendance record. The game was played outdoors in Kinnick Stadium — the home of Iowa football — and 55,646 fans showed up to watch Clark play basketball. Iowa women’s basketball games are a must-see, much thanks to Clark and her unprecedented individual dominance.

Clark also has an opportunity to break the overall NCAA scoring record as well. Pete Maravich, who played from 1967-70,  holds the record of 3,667 points. Clark’s total is up to 3,617 points, and she has two regular season games, the Big 10 tournament and likely the NCAA Tournament to break the record. 

Despite her dominance, Iowa has failed to win a national championship in Clark’s tenure. In her three years at Iowa, the Hawkeyes lost in the national championship in 2023, the second round in 2022 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2021. In Clark’s fourth, and potentially final, year in college, time is ticking for the Hawkeyes to win it all with Clark. The Hawkeyes have a prime opportunity to get it done this year, as they have a 23-4 record and are in third place in the Big 10.

Even if Iowa doesn’t win a national championship, Clark will always be a college basketball superstar. Her career is far from over, and her dominance will likely translate into the WNBA. But for now, if Iowa women’s basketball is on TV, people will watch. Every basket Clark makes is history

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