Iowa’s Caitlin Clark breaks ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich’s NCAA Division I scoring record

Two weeks after she broke the record for women, Caitlin Clark has become NCAA Division I basketball’s overall top scorer, period.

The Iowa Hawkeyes star went into Sunday’s game against the Ohio State Buckeyes needing 18 points to break “Pistol Pete” Maravich’s record of 3,667 career points, which stood for more than 50 years. And with a second-quarter free throw, she became the top-scoring player — man or woman — in NCAA basketball history.

By the time the final buzzer rang out in Sunday’s game — in which the Hawkeyes beat the Buckeyes 93-83 — Clark had scored 35 points.

Clark’s Sunday total sets the new NCAA scoring record at 3,685 points.

Following the free throw that broke the scoring record, Clark said the record wasn’t on her mind, “but then when they announced it and everybody screamed, that’s when I knew,” she said in an interview with Fox reporter Allison Williams.

Clark said in a postgame interview with Williams that her team “came out and dominated” against the Buckeyes.

“I’m just proud of our girls,” Clark said. “It was a fun, dominant win for us. I thought we played really well.”

Clark, in an interview during her Senior Night ceremony, said she is “very grateful” after starting her career at Iowa “playing in front of absolutely no one during COVID,” and “now it’s impossible to get a ticket to get in the door to our games.”

“I think the people that have made it the most special, obviously my teammates, my coaches,” Clark said. “But it isn’t what it is without all of you,” she continued, gesturing to the cheering crowds of fans.

“I mean that and I thank you,” Clark said. “This is special. I don’t know if you guys realize what you’re doing for women’s basketball and women’s sports in general, but you’re changing it. You’re helping us change it.”

“I’ve put on an Iowa jersey for four years,” Clark said, “but like Coach Bluder and Kate [Martin] said, there’s still so much more fun to have and we’re not done.”

Clark, 22, earned the women’s record Feb. 15 when she scored her first 8 points in a game against Michigan and passed Kelsey Plum’s 3,527 points in a career that ended in 2017. Clark went on that night to score a career-high 49 points.

NCAA women leading career scorer
Iowa Caitlin Clark listens as the crowd cheers after she broke the NCAA women’s all-time scoring record in Iowa City on Feb. 15.Matthew Holst / Getty Images file

“I’m just really grateful, honestly, to be able to be here and make so many of my dreams come true,” Clark said after the history-making game, which Iowa won, 106-89.

She put up 33 points against Minnesota on Wednesday to cement her place atop the all-time career points among women to play for major colleges. The record had been held by Kansas great Lynette Woodard, who scored 3,650 points. (Woodard played from 1977 to 1981, when women’s sports were governed by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.)

Clark and Woodard had a chance to catch up and celebrate following Sunday’s game.

“It’s just a great time for women’s basketball,” Woodard said in an interview with Fox’s Williams following Clark’s new record.

“Caitlin is leading the way. As she was chipping away I said, ‘Records are made to be broken, but also, they’re made to be honored,’” Woodard said. “And because of her, my records are being honored.”

Woodard continued: “I came to this game knowing she had 18 points to get. I had 19, but I have no more playing time. So, hopefully I passed her the baton for her to go ahead and burst through that ceiling, and I’m so happy for her.”

The overall record comes on Clark’s final regular-season game as a college athlete. Though the 22-year-old senior has another year of eligibility, she announced earlier this week that she would enter the WNBA draft next month.

“It probably won’t hit me until a little bit later, but I’m just gonna enjoy with my family and my teammates and I’m just really thankful to be in this place,” Clark said when asked what emotions she was feeling ahead of her “official goodbye” to Hawkeye Nation.

Her final season has been full of big moments and big numbers: She’s averaging 32 points per game, but at least four times this season she has racked up 40 points. The 6-foot guard from West Des Moines is also averaging more than 8 assists per game, and she recently recorded the 1,000th assist of her college career, making her only the sixth woman in college basketball history to do so.

With the scoring record in hand, Clark is now doubtless looking to lead her team, 25-4, to a national title. Last year, they made a run to the NCAA title game, where they lost to LSU.

Maravich’s NCAA men’s scoring record was 3,667 points, which he set playing for LSU from 1968 to 1970.

After college, Maravich went on to an NBA career in which he was a five-time All-Star. He played for the Atlanta Hawks and the then-New Orleans Jazz and for one season with the Boston Celtics.Maravich died in 1988 in Pasadena, California, at 40 years old.

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