Caitlin Clark surpasses Pete Maravich’s scoring record for most points in NCAA history – The Athletic

By Sabreena Merchant2h ago

There is a new leading scorer in college basketball. With a free throw with 0.3 seconds to play in the first half against No. 3 Ohio State Sunday during her final regular-season game, Caitlin Clark scored her 3,668th point to pass Pete Maravich for the most points in Division I history, men’s or women’s.

Clark finished the game with 35 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals as No. 6 Iowa held on to take down Ohio State 93-83.

Clark has spent the last few weeks chasing down a number of records. She passed Kelsey Plum on Feb. 15 to become the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women’s basketball. In her most recent contest on Feb. 28 against Minnesota, she eclipsed the 3,649 points scored by Lynette Woodard, the AIAW large-school leading scorer. Now after passing the total set by Maravich in 1970, she stands atop all of major college basketball.

On Sunday, it looked like Clark’s moment would be delayed, at least until after halftime. The Buckeyes tried to take the ball out of Clark’s hands and force her to be a facilitator. After she easily assisted on Iowa’s first three baskets and pushed the Hawkeyes to a 15-point first-quarter lead, Ohio State adjusted, leaving opportunities for Clark to find her own offense.

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Clark scored her 16th point of the game on a lay-up with 57 seconds left in the second quarter. On Iowa’s penultimate possession of the half, trailing Maravich’s mark by one, the senior pulled up for a deep 3-pointer on the right wing. It missed, but the Hawkeyes forced a stop and Clark found Hannah Stuelke leaking out on the break with less than a second to play. Stuelke was fouled, and the referees whistled Cotie McMahon for a technical foul to boot, giving Clark a chance to set the record at the free-throw line. She made the first foul shot to tie Maravich and the second to claim history on her own.

Though Clark’s fans are accustomed to seeing her hit logo 3s — as she did when she broke the women’s record — they roared in appreciation as she surpassed Maravich with a pair of free throws.

Iowa commemorated Clark’s pursuit of Plum’s record, culminating in a postgame ceremony at Carver-Hawkeye Arena after the team defeated Michigan in Clark’s record-setting day. They also added a 22 decal on the court from the spot Clark launched her record-breaking 3, which happens to be the mirror image of where Clark initially tried to pass Maravich. Coach Lisa Bluder called Woodard’s mark the “real record.” The school did not acknowledge that mark with similar pomp, though it was less than two weeks after Clark had passed Plum. Sunday’s celebration was mostly focused on senior day, which became especially meaningful after Clark announced Thursday that she would forgo a fifth year of eligibility to enter the WNBA.

The atmosphere Sunday was made extra special by the presence of Clark’s childhood idol and Hall of Famer Maya Moore, who met with the Iowa guard pregame. Other celebrities in attendance included Woodard – who was honored with a standing ovation during a timeout, Nolan Ryan, and Travis Scott.

Clark’s record-breaking point came in her fourth season in her 130th game. Maravich’s college career came at a time when freshmen weren’t allowed to play varsity, so he accumulated his 3,667 points over three seasons. As a result, his average of 44.2 points per game far eclipses Clark’s 28.3. There also was not a 3-point line when Maravich suited up for LSU while Clark has made 500 3-pointers in her time at Iowa. Where Clark edges Maravich is in efficiency; he attempted 38.1 field goals per game as a Tiger, nearly double the 19.9 Clark has averaged over her four seasons.

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One record still eludes Clark. Pearl Moore, the AIAW small-school leading scorer, recorded 4,061 points during her career at Francis Marion University. At her current scoring average, it would take Clark an additional 12 games to catch up to Moore. However, Clark has a maximum of nine games left in her college career — three in the Big Ten tournament plus a potential six NCAA Tournament games. Although it seems fruitless to put limits on what Clark can achieve as a scorer, Moore’s total might be beyond the Hawkeyes superstar’s reach.

Clark’s rise to the pinnacle started quickly, with a 27-point freshman debut in 2020. She recorded the only 40-point triple-double in NCAA Tournament history and is the only NCAA player to record 3,000 points, 750 rebounds and 750 assists. Clark also set program records with 49 points in a single game (when she broke Plum’s record) and has led the Hawkeyes to two conference tournament championships and their first Final Four berth since 1993. (Iowa lost to LSU in the NCAA final last season.)

Fans have taken notice as Iowa has sold out or set arena attendance records for all but two games this season. Sunday’s home game against Ohio State was the most expensive ticket in women’s basketball history with an average price of more than $550, according to TickPick.

For now, Clark’s performance was also an attempt to help Iowa exact revenge for an overtime defeat earlier in the season, a result that put Ohio State in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten title. The Hawkeyes are also looking for a victory to secure the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament starting on March 6.

Required reading

  • Iowa’s sizzling popularity in women’s basketball was born in the state’s 6-on-6 tradition
  • Caitlin Clark and Pete Maravich: Two scoring stars worth celebrating equally
  • Pete Maravich’s son sees his dad in Caitlin Clark’s game: ‘He would have been a big fan’

(Photo: Matthew Holst / Getty Images)

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Sabreena Merchant is a women’s basketball Staff Writer for The Athletic. She previously covered the WNBA and NBA for SB Nation. Sabreena is an alum of Duke University, where she wrote for the independent student newspaper, The Chronicle. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow Sabreena on Twitter @sabreenajm

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