Clark breaks women's major-college scoring record - 6 minutes read

Michael Voepel, ESPN.comFeb 28, 2024, 10:48 PM ETCloseMichael Voepel covers the WNBA, women's college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women's basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The black-and-gold-clad fans among the 14,625 at Williams Arena were virtually begging for one more 3-pointer from Caitlin Clark late in Wednesday's game, and she delivered for another historic mark.

The Iowa guard continued her record-breaking quest as she passed Kansas Jayhawks legend Lynette Woodard for the major-college women's basketball scoring mark in the No. 6 Hawkeyes' 108-60 victory over Minnesota.

Clark scored her 33rd and final point of the game on her eighth 3-pointer, coming at the 4:29 mark of the fourth quarter, to give her 3,650 points. Woodard, who played in the final years of the AIAW from 1977 to '81, scored 3,649 points.

"I think it just speaks to the foundation that these players have laid for us," Clark said of past stars such as Woodard. "To have opportunities, to be able to play in environments like this, in front of crowds like this.

"I wouldn't have the opportunity to be able to do what I'm doing every single night if it wasn't for people like her. There are so many great players across the board. I'm just really thankful and grateful to have those people that have come before me."

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Asked about Clark and the scoring mark, Woodard told ESPN, "I know what it must mean to her because I've been there. I would have some wisdom for her if we ever talk, and I hope that we will one day.

"I think she's an awesome player. I would love to meet her. But what I say would be between her and I, because I can share some things that nobody knows. She will be the only one that will understand what I'm saying because she's doing it."

Clark also broke the NCAA women's single-season 3-point record in Wednesday's game; she is now at 156 for this season, and 503 for her career. As a team, Iowa hit a Big Ten single-game record 22 3-pointers and had its 10th 100-point game of the season. The Hawkeyes are 25-4 overall and 14-3 (tied for second) in the Big Ten.

Clark got the 17th triple-double of her career as well, adding 12 assists and 10 rebounds to her 33 points. She is second only to Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, who had 26 triple-doubles from 2016 to '20. It was Clark's sixth triple-double of at least 30 points, the most in Division I history. Iowa has won every game in which Clark has had a triple-double.

"Maybe I should do that every time," Clark joked. "Being able to do a lot of different things -- the rebounding part, when I can get on the defensive glass and push in transition, that's when we're really good. And that honestly leads to a lot of my assists and a lot of my points."

Clark broke the NCAA women's scoring record of 3,527, set by Washington's Kelsey Plum, on Feb. 15 against Michigan. As she did Wednesday, Clark broke that mark with a 3-pointer.

Next up for Clark: the NCAA overall scoring record, men's and women's, of 3,667 points. That was set by LSU's Pete Maravich from 1967 to '70, playing just 83 games in the days before freshman eligibility in college basketball.

Pearl Moore, who played at Francis Marion from 1975 to '79, is the AIAW small school/overall record holder at 3,884. Maravich, Moore and Woodard all played before the 3-point line was implemented in college basketball.

"Pete's record, that's getting closer and closer," said Clark, who needs 18 points to top Maravich and closes the regular season Sunday at home against Big Ten-leading Ohio State. "I vividly remember even people in high school coming up to me and talking about Pete, and [saying] 'You need to watch him on YouTube.'

"My first goal is focusing on Ohio State, but it's super special just to be in the same realm as a lot of these really talented players that have done a lot for just basketball in general."

The NCAA stepped in to govern women's sports in 1981-82, although some schools stayed that season in the AIAW before it was disbanded. The NCAA opted not to carry over AIAW player statistics, so they are not included amid NCAA stats. However, the NCAA does include coaches' wins and losses from the AIAW years in their career totals.

The discrepancy has long been a source of angst among former AIAW players such as Woodard. The topic was brought up in 2001 when Missouri State's Jackie Stiles broke the NCAA women's scoring record and again in 2017 when Plum did it.

The AIAW records are listed, along with the AIAW champions and All-Americans, in the NCAA's Final Four Record Book separately from NCAA stats and champions.

"The AIAW record that Lynette Woodard held -- that was the real one," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "There's no reason why that should not be the true record. At a school like Iowa, that has been so rich in AIAW history, I just make sure we acknowledge Lynette's accomplishments in the game of basketball."

After college, Woodard played overseas and for the Harlem Globetrotters, and she competed in the early years of the WNBA when she was in her late 30s. The Wichita, Kansas, native could score from all over the court as a 6-foot guard.

"Every time I had the ball in my hand or was on the court, I maximized the moment," Woodard said. "I saw things that maybe somebody else didn't see. The defense dictated what I did, because I was good at reading it.

"Everybody has their own time, their own style. I like to think I left an indelible print. My way was the only way I could do it."

Clark, who also has her own style, has now moved to the top of the scoring list of major-college women's players, AIAW and NCAA.

"She has brought so much attention, so much excitement to the game," Woodard said. "But it's also tapped into something that everybody should know about the past. I think it's beautiful. It's a resurrection for the AIAW. It's not forgotten."

Source: ESPN

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