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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Caitlin Clark Smashes NCAA Women’s Basketball Scoring Record

AP Photo / Matthew Putney

Caitlin Clark made history in Iowa City on Feb. 15, surpassing Kelsey Plum to become the NCAA Women’s Basketball all-time leading scorer. Not only did Clark break that record, she broke a personal best and set a University of Iowa record scoring a career-high 49 points against Michigan to win 106-89. 

It wouldn’t be Caitlin Clark if she didn’t do it with style. Clark broke the record less than three minutes into the game, nailing a 35-foot three-pointer that just about caused fans to tear the roof off the stadium. In the post-game media conference, Clark exuded confidence, as usual.

“You all knew I was going to shoot a logo three for the record, come on now,” Clark said in a post-game interview per ESPN, receiving a chorus of laughter. The local media has become rather familiar with the Iowa native after she’s spent four years at her hometown school.

Clark was rightfully celebrated that night in Iowa as chants of “One more year!” echoed throughout the arena, filled with 15,000 fans, according to USA Today. The question as to whether Clark will use her additional year of eligibility due to COVID-19 to stay at Iowa or declare for the WNBA is one that Clark has repeatedly declined to comment on. 

Following the game, her teammates lifted her up as they each adorned t-shirts with the slogan “You break it, you own it” and Clark’s name on the back. The shirts were Nike, of course, as Clark signed a Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deal with the company back in October of 2022. The deal is rumored to be worth over 800,000 dollars annually.

The hype is real for Clark, whose excellence and personality have brought a new level of fandom to women’s college basketball. Iowa hosted an exhibition game against DePaul University before the beginning of the 2023-24 season in the school’s football stadium, and it shattered attendance records for women’s college hoops, drawing in 55,646 fans. For reference, the population of Iowa City is less than 75,000

Clark’s fame extends well beyond Iowa, as all of the top-five most in-demand women’s college basketball games have all had one thing in common: she was playing in them. Iowa has faced sold-out crowds on the road at Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Purdue, Ohio State, Northwestern, Maryland and Nebraska this season alone. 

And beyond just basketball, Clark is turning heads all around the sports world. 

In a press conference before the Super Bowl, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes talked about her uncanny abilities as a hooper, according to Sports Illustrated.

“She’s one of the best college basketball players to ever play,” Mahomes said. “Hopefully, I never have to play her one-on-one because she’ll for sure be getting buckets on me.”

Clark’s game is often compared to that of four-time NBA Champion Steph Curry. Curry commented on Clark’s talent in a recent NBA All-Star media availability, per IndyStar.

“[Clark] is special,” Curry said. “Her story, journey, the record speaks for itself and it’s cool […] It’s just dope from a scoring perspective [and] from a shooting perspective, just a hooper that’s doing what she’s doing.”

Former NBA MVP Kevin Durrant spoke to The Washington Post about Clark.

 “When you couple her edge with her skills and her IQ, that’s what takes her over the top and makes her rare,” Durrant said.

While Clark has already made history at Iowa in women’s college basketball and for women’s sports in general, there is still one mark the college basketball world is patiently waiting to see if she will hit. As of Feb. 19, Clark has 3,569 career points with the Hawkeyes. This is just 98 points shy of the current record holder, Pete Maravich. Clark is already third in career points in all of NCAA basketball, men’s and women’s.

Clark is currently averaging 32.8 points per game and, with four games left in the regular season, she is on pace to break Maravich’s record and cement herself as the potential greatest of all time (GOAT) of college basketball. It is unlikely that Clark’s season will end with the regular season, as Iowa is currently ranked fourth overall in the country. Despite her clear dominance in the sport over the last few years, Clark is still chasing a national championship after losing last year to Louisiana State, a game that smashed viewership records, averaging about 10 million viewers across the broadcast. Let’s see if Clark and the Hawkeyes will be able to close on it in this historic season. 

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About the Contributor
Caroline Michaud, Sports Editor
Caroline Michaud is a senior from Lexington, MA concentrating in political science and religion. She has previously served as a staff writer for the Sports section. On campus, Caroline is involved in a Greek letter organization.

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