Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark has been making lots of noise in women’s sports for the past several years — and Thursday night she made history, too.

When she scored 8 points against Michigan, Clark became the NCAA women’s career scoring leader. And she did it in front of a home crowd in Iowa City.

It didn’t take long to reach the milestone Thursday. She made the first two scores for Iowa of the game — a 2-pointer and a 3-pointer, drawing her within three of the eight she needed.

She dropped a 3-pointer with 7:40 left in the first, still near the Iowa logo in the middle of the court, to reach it.

The game paused on a timeout and Clark hugged teammates and the announcer broadcast the feat to the cheering crowd. A celebration was planned immediately after the game.

With four regular-season games left, Clark will likely put some more distance between herself and the previous record, as she’s averaging more than 32 points per game.

Already three times this season, Clark has scored at least 40 points in a game.

Kelsey Plum previously held the record of 3,527 career point, which she set in 2017. Clark came within seven points of that benchmark Sunday, when No. 4 Iowa’s four-game winning streak came to an end with a 82-79 loss to Nebraska.

Plum, who played for Washington from 2013-2017, said last week that she’s “grateful to pass that baton” to Clark.

“I hope everyone in the media takes time to understand that she is not just a basketball player but a young woman that has feelings and emotions,” Plum told The Washington Post. “She carries it with grace, but there’s a lot to handle there. If anything, make sure that we show her love outside of her performance.”

Clark, a senior who still has another season of eligibility remaining, if she wants it, on Sunday recorded the 1,000th assist of her college career, making her the sixth woman in college basketball history to achieve such a feat.

The 6-foot guard from West Des Moines and her dynamic game have captivated the nation for two seasons, including last year’s run to the NCAA title game and being named the AP player of the year. 

More than just her pursuit of the record, her long 3-point shots and flashy passes have raised interest in the women’s game to unprecedented levels. Arenas have been sold out for her games, home and away, and television ratings have never been higher.

“I dreamed of doing really big things, playing in front of big crowds, going to the Final Four, maybe not quite on this level,” Clark told The Associated Press. “I think that’s really hard to dream. You can always exceed expectations, even your own, and I think that’s been one of the coolest parts.”

Clark has been making a name for herself since middle school. That’s when Jan Jensen, assistant head coach for Iowa’s women’s basketball team, first heard about Clark as a sixth-grader in West Des Moines.

“Yeah, she’s diff. You could just tell,” Jensen said. “They’re easy to identify but really hard to get. Everybody can see the true, true ones. The trick is to get them.”

Now that she’s got the NCAA record, Clark is aiming for the all-time major women’s college scoring record of 3,649, set by Kansas star Lynette Woodard from 1977-81. During Woodard’s era, women’s sports were governed by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. Francis Marion’s Pearl Moore holds the overall women’s record with 4,061 points from 1975-79.


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