Iowa39s Caitlin Clark breaks NCAA women39s career record.com2Fa02Fbf2Fb0e65e7eb554f7ae1c3e5a0e8f6d2Fbf15d744574c4afe85c979c832d5a1ca

Iowa's Caitlin Clark breaks NCAA women's career record

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Caitlin Clark broke the NCAA women's career scoring record. Make a 3-pointer from about 35 feet away in the first quarter for No. 4 Iowa against Michigan on Thursday night.

Clark needed eight points early in the game to surpass Kelsey Plum's point total of 3,527.

She wasted no time, making her first three shots – a layup and two three-pointers – and scoring Iowa's first eight points. The record-breaker was a three-pointer off the dribble on the left wing near the Mediacom Court logo with 7:45 left in the first quarter.

“It's cool. It's cool to be on a level playing field with a lot of really, really good players,” Clark said in a television interview at halftime. “I'm lucky to do that because I have really good teammates and really good coaches and a great support system surrounding me.”

Iowa won the tip-off and Clark, guarded by Laila Phelia, drove to the basket and blocked a shot from the right side. Clark hit a three-pointer from the left wing on Iowa's next possession. The Hawkeyes turned the ball over twice before Clark took a pass from Gabbie Marshall in transition. stopped and shot from the depths on the left.

As the ball went through, fans – many of them standing and holding up their phones to capture the moment – let out a loud roar.

After Clark's 3, Phelia missed a layup and Michigan and Iowa's Molly Davis recovered. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder called a timeout and a cheer ensued. Clark hugged teammates, Bluders and staff and the record was recognized as the adoring fans continued to scream.

“Just grateful. “I’m grateful to be surrounded by people and to be in a city that supports women’s basketball so much,” Clark said. “Be surrounded by my best friends and people who want to see me great and push me to be great every day.”

Plum scored 57 points the night she broke the scoring record as a senior at Washington in 2017, and Clark played like she had that on her mind. She had 23 points in the first quarter and made five of her first seven three-pointers and eight of 10 shots.

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark warms up for the team's NCAA college basketball game against Michigan on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa.  (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark warms up for the team's NCAA college basketball game against Michigan on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark warms up for the team's NCAA college basketball game against Michigan on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa.  (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark warms up for the team's NCAA college basketball game against Michigan on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Clark's next goal is the major women's college record of 3,649 points set by Kansas star Lynette Woodard from 1977 to 1981. During Woodard's time, women's sports were governed by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. Pearl Moore of Francis Marion holds the women's overall record with 4,061 points from 1975 to 1979.

Iowa still has four regular season games left, as well as the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. Barring an injury, Clark, a senior who averages 32.1 points per game, will almost certainly overtake Woodard. And she has the opportunity to return for a fifth season of college basketball due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among those offering congratulations on social media was LSU star Angel Reese, who shared the spotlight with Clark last season when the Tigers won the national championship game. The Big Ten Network released one Congratulations compilation video These included Tom Brady, Peyton and Eli Manning.

Clark and her dynamic play captivated the nation for two seasons. Last year, she led the Hawkeyes to the NCAA title game and was named AP Player of the Year. More than just her pursuit of the record, her long three-pointers and eye-catching passes have raised interest in the women's game to unprecedented levels. Arenas were sold out at their home and away games, and television ratings were never higher.

It was everything more than Clark imagined when the 6-foot-10 guard from West Des Moines stayed in-state in November 2019, choosing Iowa over Notre Dame.

“I dreamed of doing really big things, playing in front of big crowds, getting to the Final Four, maybe not quite at this level,” Clark said this week. “I think that’s really hard to dream. You can always exceed expectations, even your own, and I think that was one of the coolest parts.”

Although her basketball commitments and endorsement deals (State Farm ads, etc.) have taken up her time, she said she is the same person who showed up on campus four years ago.

“I’m just going about my business like I did as a freshman during COVID,” Clark said. “Sure, my life has changed somehow. I still live the same way. I still act like a 22-year-old student.”

She said she still cleans her apartment, does laundry, plays video games, hangs out with friends and does school work.

Her record win could have come sooner, but it came back to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, where resale prices for tickets to the Michigan game ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Fans showed up early again outside the arena, many wearing black and gold jerseys with the number 22 and holding signs paying their respects.

Mya Anderson and her friend Ellie Steffensen, both 12, and their mothers made the six-hour drive from Canton, South Dakota, to see Clark break the record.

“I think she inspired a lot of people,” Mya said.

“Yes, lots of little girls,” Ellie added.

Mya and Ellie both play basketball and both said they try to do some of the things Clark does on the court, like shoot long threes.

“But I’m not as good as her,” Ellie said.

Kelly Jared of Manchester, Iowa, said she likes everything about Clark and expects her impact on women's soccer to be lasting.

“She took it to a new level,” Jared said. “The aspirations and goals of the current and future players have set the bar high. And it's perfect because they will work to achieve these goals. As for the fans, the excitement is high for people who have never watched women's basketball. My son isn't a basketball fan, but he saw Caitlin last year and loved it. He absolutely loves her.”

Unlike Sunday's loss at Nebraska, which drew nearly 2 million viewers on Fox, this game was streamed on Peacock.

“I understand the magnitude of it,” Clark said. “It's unfolded as my four years have gone by and it's crazy to look back at how quickly it all went by. I’m really thankful and grateful.”


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