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Iowa’s Caitlin Clark breaks NCAA all-time scoring record

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) makes a 3-pointer during the second quarter of their game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa on Saturday, January 13, 2024. Photo courtesy of UI Athletics

In her final regular-season home game on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa senior Caitlin Clark continued to make her case as arguably the greatest college basketball player of all time.

After becoming the women’s NCAA all-time scoring leader last month, Clark surpassed Hall of Famer and former LSU star Pete Maravich’s 54-year scoring record of 3,667 career points on the men’s side during a 93-83 win over No. 2 ranked Ohio State.

Caitlin led the No. 6 Hawkeyes to victory by recording a game-high 35 points with six 3-pointers and now sits at 3,685 points for her career. Clark entered the game with 3,650 points and officially became college basketball’s all-time leading scorer after knocking down a pair of free throws near the end of the first half.

Back on Feb. 15, Clark broke the women’s scoring record of 3,527 career points held by current two-time WNBA Champion Kelsey Plum (Washington) since 2017 in a 106-89 win over Michigan at home. Caitilin produced a career-high 49 points and also tied her single-game career-high 3-pointers mark of nine.

Clark is the only player in the NCAA who is averaging 30 points or more at 32.2 per game this season. Behind her in women’s college basketball is USC freshman JuJu Watkins (27.8 points per game), and on the men’s side the scoring leader is Denver senior Tommy Bruner (24.5).

Caitlin has recorded the most single-season 3-pointers in women’s college basketball history (162) this winter. She’s on pace to break the single-season men’s 3-point record held by four-time NBA Champion Stephen Curry (Davidson) of 162 and needs 34 more to break the women’s all-time career 3’s made record (537), sitting at 509.

Clark is the only player in all of college basketball averaging more than four 3-pointers made per game (5.38) and has both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament left to play in before her college career is over.

If her current average holds, Caitlin will break former Ohio State star Taylor Roberton’s career 3-pointers made record in five games. Robertson played five seasons with the Buckeyes (151 career games) compared to Clark being in her fourth and final year at Iowa (129).

Additionally, Caitlin is the first men’s or women’s player in NCAA history to record at least 3,600 points, 1,000 assists and 900 rebounds in their career. She has the second-most career triple-doubles in college basketball history with 17 behind current WNBA and former Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu’s total of 27.

Last month, Ionescu competed against Stephen Curry in the first-ever WNBA vs. NBA 3-Point Challenge on NBA All-Star Weekend. While Sabrina tied for the highest score of 26 with players in this year’s NBA 3-Point Challenge, Curry just edged her out at 29.

This challenge between Ionescu and Curry came about after Sabrina broke Stephen’s former all-time 3-point contest record of 31, set in 2021, by scoring 37 out of the possible 40 points in the 2023 WNBA 3-Point Contest. In the same season last year, Ionescu broke three-time WNBA Champion Diana Taurasi’s single-season 3-pointers record of 121, set in 2006, with 128 3’s in just her third full season.

Like Ionescu was in 2020, Plum in 2017 and Taurasi in 2004, Clark is projected to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick by the Indiana Fever in this year’s WNBA Draft next month on April 15. Caitlin made her announcement of entering the draft and forgoing a fifth year of eligibility at Iowa on social media last Thursday.

In the days following Clark’s announcement, the Indiana Fever raised their season-ticket prices by more than double. At the beginning of this season, Iowa broke the women’s college basketball single-game attendance record with 55,646 versus DePaul in an exhibition game Oct. 15 at Kinnick Stadium.

On top of that, Iowa has sold out every single game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500 capacity) this winter. Additionally, Clark and the Hawkeyes have also sold out every opposing arena for a 145% increase in attendance when Iowa is in town.

Thanks to college athletes now being able to profit from their name, image and likeness (NIL), Clark is estimated to make $910,000 from NIL deals this season. She currently has endorsements with Buick, Gatorade, Hy-Vee, NIKE, State Farm Insurance, Topps Trading Cards, H&R Block and many others.

Hy-Vee even came out with her very own cereal — Caitlin’s Crunch Time — which was only sold for a limited time at select Iowa locations back in January. All of the proceeds went to her foundation whose mission is to uplift and improve the lives of youth and their communities through education, nutrition and sport.

Back on Christmas Day, Clark attended a Kansas City Chiefs game where superstar singer-songwriter Taylor Swift was also in attendance. In a postgame interview a few days after, Caitlin was asked if she met Swift at the Chiefs game, stating, “I didn’t. She was a couple suites away from me, but I did not meet her. She’s a couple tiers above my level,” she laughed.

However, it’s not that hard to draw comparisons between the two when looking at Clark’s renowned talent and ability to sell out any and every arena she plays in. Back on Iowa’s Taylor Swift Day when she dropped 38 points and hit eight 3-pointers versus Nebraska Jan. 27, Caitlin was tabbed as the Taylor Swift of women’s basketball in the postgame interview.

Right after that, Clark was asked what it means to have the type of impact she does and had this to say, “It’s just really cool — I never take any moment for granted no matter where we’re playing at. Whether it’s at home or on the road, a lot of people spend a lot of time and money to be able to come watch our team play for two hours.

“You always want to go out there and give it your best — give them a little show and give them something to smile about. Make it fun because this is probably a memory people are going to remember for the rest of their lives.”

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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