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

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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 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 Maravich, she stands atop all of major college basketball.

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. 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 on Thursday that she would forgo a fifth year of eligibility to enter the WNBA.

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 1,315 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.

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.

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(Photo: Jeffrey Becker / USA Today)

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