History Made! Caitlin Clark breaks scoring record

Caitlin Clark explodes for 49 points, sets ALL-TIME scoring record in front of hometown crowd! Watch the epic moment & hear her emotional speech. Will she stay in college or go pro? All the details & expert opinions!

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Caitlin Clark has filled stadiums all season, and the sold-out crowd here Thursday witnessed the hometown hero create sports history. The Iowa Hawkeyes guard shattered the NCAA women’s basketball lifetime scoring record, exciting the Carver-Hawkeye Arena audience.

She did it as swiftly as possible.

Clark entered No. 4 Iowa’s game against Michigan with 3,520 points, needing eight to break the record held by Washington’s Kelsey Plum (3,527) from 2013 to 2017.

Clark converted a layup off the opening tip. Then she made a three-pointer from her preferred position on the court, the left side. Another 3-pointer from the same side caused chaos. It took her 2 minutes and 12 seconds to set the record.

Clark and Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder had stated before the game that they did not expect a halt of play when the record was reached. But Iowa called a timeout, and Clark’s teammates joined her on the court for a joyful group embrace. Clark’s broad smile conveyed the tale of the night: the pursuit of a record that she said had never felt like a burden was now hers to enjoy.

“That’s cool. “It’s cool to be in the same league as a lot of really, really good players,” Clark remarked during a halftime interview on television. “I’m lucky to do it because I have really good teammates and really good coaches and a great support system that surrounds me.”

She was not finished after breaking the record, however. Clark had a career-high and Iowa-record 49 points in the Hawkeyes’ 106-89 victory. She now has 3,569 points in her career.

Her nine 3-pointers (from 18 tries) equaled her career high. She also had 13 assists, five rebounds, and a steal in the victory. She finished with 79 points scored or assisted, the most by a Division I player in a game in the previous 25 seasons.

Bluder pulled Clark from the game with 1:46 remaining, just after she made her final three, and she headed to the bench to an ovation from the sellout crowd.

“This is a place I grew up loving, and people have supported me ever since I was a young girl playing high school basketball in this state,” Clark said after breaking the state record. “They constantly encouraged me to pursue my aspirations and backed me every step of the way.

I’m really glad for the opportunity to wear Iowa across my breast and represent my state, which values women’s athletics, particularly women’s basketball. Every day, I get to live my dream.

Clark’s influence, according to Bluder, is “unmatched.”

“The enthusiasm that she has brought to this program, and quite honestly, to women’s basketball nationally, is amazing,” Bluder said in a statement. “I really love it, and we should ride it. Women’s basketball players around the country must capitalize on the current level of passion in our sport.”

Clark has the potential to set new scoring records during her final year. Lynette Woodard of Kansas established the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) large-school women’s record from 1977 to 1981, just before the NCAA era, with 3,649 points. Pete Maravich of LSU set the NCAA men’s record of 3,667 from 1967 to 1970, prior to freshman eligibility in collegiate basketball.

Clark is already the first Division I women’s player to have 3,000 points and 1,000 assists. However, records and milestones only tell half of Clark’s narrative. She is a generational talent who is increasing the popularity of her sport.

“My favorite athletes are those who are champions in sports and champions in life, and Caitlin Clark is one of those athletes,” tennis legend and women’s sports advocate Billie Jean King told ESPN.

“She is the hottest star in basketball — all of basketball, not just women’s basketball — and that comes with a great responsibility to be a leader both on and off the court.” She understands it, which is why she will have the potential to be one of the finest in her sport and a role model for future generations.”

Clark, who has just turned 22, has a lot on her shoulders, yet she appears to be having a great time. She continues to play with the same enthusiasm, confidence, and cheerful spirit that she brought to the court as a college freshman in 2020 when games were largely played in mostly empty venues due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

The “Caitlin Clark Show” has become one of the most sought-after sports tickets. Fans of all ages shout out her name and wear her No. 22 shirt. Parents take their kids hundreds of miles to see Clark. On game days, police escort her to and from the arena, as well as onto and off the court.

Clark has been able to feature in national commercial campaigns because to revisions in NCAA rules governing name, image, and likeness. Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, complemented her skills when speaking with the media before of the Super Bowl.

Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry, widely regarded as the finest shooter in NBA history, commended Clark’s shooting technique and calmness.

“Caitlin’s special,” said Curry, one of the WNBA stars Clark has based her game after, along with Sue Bird, Maya Moore, Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu. “The record speaks for itself, and it is cool. From a scoring and shooting standpoint, simply doing what she’s doing — she could choose anyone she mentions as an influence. If she models something in her game after me, I don’t take it for granted.”

According to ESPN commentator Rebecca Lobo, a 1995 UConn national champion and 1996 Olympian, Clark and Curry have characteristics that make them both successful and appealing to a diverse audience.

“Caitlin is the whole package,” Lobo explained. “She’s playing the game in a way we’ve never seen before from a woman. We’ve never seen somebody take so many shots from such a long distance and hit them so consistently.

“And she’s like Steph Curry—he’s personable but not a physical behemoth. So every child may see themselves like Caitlin Clark. It’s not like, ‘Well, to play like her, I’d need to be 6-4 or 6-5. Caitlin is 6-0, but you don’t need to be that tall to perform what she does.”

The West Des Moines, Iowa native chose to stay in her home state for college, guiding Iowa to two Big Ten tournament crowns and the 2023 women’s Final Four. Last season, she broke the NCAA tournament scoring record (191 points), recorded the first 40-point triple-double in NCAA playoff history, and led Iowa to an upset over undefeated No. 1 overall seed and reigning champion South Carolina in the national semifinals.

Iowa lost to LSU in the championship game, which received a record 9.9 million viewers on ABC. The 2023 NCAA tournament propelled Clark to new heights of stardom. That has continued to grow since the Hawkeyes’ preseason game in October at Iowa’s football stadium, which drew 55,646 people, setting a single-game attendance record for women’s basketball.

“You need superstars in sports,” Julie Foudy, an Olympic and Women’s World Cup soccer winner, told ESPN. “Mia (Hamm) was our superstar. She was quiet and introverted. Caitlin appears to be more at ease in the spotlight.

“Mia, like Caitlin today, grasped the significance and value of her fame. The significance of it, not just individually but collectively, and how so many other women may benefit from her celebrity.”

Clark might continue at Iowa for another season owing to the COVID-19 waiver from 2020-21, or she could declare for the 2024 WNBA draft, where she is expected to be the first choice. During Clark’s postgame television interview on Thursday, the audience began screaming, “One more year! One more year!”

Clark has stated that she will make her decision after the season.

She is now focusing on winning Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles, as well as returning to the women’s Final Four.

Whether Clark joins the WNBA this year or returns to Iowa for another season, Lobo believes she will continue to increase the sport’s appeal.

“Caitlin has maintained a clear mind and terrific balance. “She has a magnetic personality,” Lobo explained. “There are just a lot of things that a lot of different people can relate to and love about the way she plays.”

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