Iowa's Caitlin Clark passes Pete Maravich to become NCAA's all-time scoring leader

Peter Sblendorio, New York Daily News on

Published in Basketball

College basketball’s scoring crown belongs to Caitlin Clark.

Iowa’s generational superstar became the all-time NCAA Division I scoring leader Sunday, breaking “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s 54-year-old record with her 18th point of the day against No. 2 Ohio State.

Playing in front of her home crowd, Clark made a pair of free throws with 0.3 seconds before halftime to tie and pass the 3,667 points scored by Maravich at LSU from 1967-70.

Clark finished with 35 points in No. 6 Iowa’s 93-83 win, giving her 3,685 points for her career.

“I’m just trying to soak in the moment,” Clark said afterward. “A record is a record. I don’t want that to be the reason people remember me. I hope people remember me for the way I played with a smile on my face, my competitive fire. Sure, they can remember the wins, but also the fun that me and my teammates had together.”

Clark, 22, already owned the NCAA women’s scoring title, having last month surpassed the 3,527 points scored by Kelsey Plum during her career at Washington from 2014-17.

Then last week, Clark became the highest-scoring player in the history of major-college women’s basketball, passing Lynette Woodard, who scored 3,649 points at Kansas from 1977-81. Woodard played when the sport was still governed by the AIAW, and her numbers are therefore not recognized among NCAA statistics.

Comparing Clark’s scoring total to Maravich’s is similarly nuanced. Maravich played only three collegiate seasons, compared to Clark’s four, because freshmen were ineligible at the time. The shot clock and 3-point line did not exist during Maravich’s college career.


But Maravich played during an era in which much of the Southeastern Conference was still segregated. Tom Payne became the first Black basketball player to appear in a game at Kentucky during the 1970-71 season. Collis Temple Jr. became the first Black player at LSU in 1971.

Woodard, former UConn star Maya Moore, MLB great Nolan Ryan and rapper Travis Scott were among the stars who attended Sunday and watched Clark make history. Maravich died at age 40 in 1988.

Clark said she expects the magnitude of Sunday’s milestone to hit her eventually.

“Just to be in the same realm of all these players that have been so successful, whether it’s Pete or whether it’s Kelsey Plum or Lynette Woodard, all these people have just given so much to the game,” Clark said. “Hopefully somebody comes after me and breaks my records and I can be there supporting them.”

Sunday’s game was Clark’s first since declaring last Thursday for the 2024 WNBA Draft, where she’s widely expected to be taken first overall by the Indiana Fever. The announcement ended speculation around a potential fifth year for Clark, who was eligible to return due to the NCAA’s COVID-19 waiver for the 2020-2021 season.

Clark, the reigning Naismith college player of the year, is averaging 32.3 points and 8.7 assists per game, which both lead the nation. The 6-foot Clark now sets her sights on winning her first NCAA title after falling just short last year with a loss to LSU in the national championship game.

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