Caitlin Clark becomes the NCAA’s all-time leading basketball scorer

Caitlin Clark becomes the NCAA’s all-time leading basketball scorer
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Caitlin Clark has made NCAA history.

The 22-year-old University of Iowa senior guard scored 35 points in a win over Ohio State on March 3 to break a 54-year-old record and become the all-time leading scorer, male or female, in NCAA Division I hoops history.

Clark, who became the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women's basketball history in February, passed LSU legend "Pistol Pete" Maravich's record of 3,667 points on a free throw in the final seconds of the second quarter to draw a roar from the Iowa home crowd.

Clark needed 18 points to break the record set by Maravich in 1970, and she passed that mark in the first half on the way to leading the Hawkeyes a 93-83 win over the Buckeyes, who entered ranked No. 2 in the country in the Associated Press Top 25.

The Iowa star now has a record 3,685 points for her career, with more games still to go.

Clark put herself on the brink of passing the all-time mark and broke another significant record on Feb. 28 when the Hawkeyes routed Minnesota 108-60 in a Big Ten matchup.

Clark scored 33 points in the win and posted her 17th career triple-double by adding 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

The anticipation of Clark passing Maravich was so high that tickets to the Ohio State game set a record for the highest ever for a women's basketball game, college or professional, according to ticket seller TickPick. The price just to get into the game was $503, TickPick told The Athletic.

A ticket to sit nine rows from the court was selling for $6,489 on TickPick on the morning of Friday, March 1.

Here's what to know about Clark's quest for the record.

How many points did Caitlin Clark need to break the record?

Before Sunday's game, the Hawkeyes sharpshooter was 18 points away from passing the legendary Pete Maravich (3,667 points) for the NCAA scoring record.

Clark is averaging 32.2 points per game this season, so she was expected to set the record during the game against Ohio State. She also still has games coming up in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments that will count toward her total.

Caitlin Clark  (Matthew Holst / Getty Images)
Caitlin Clark (Matthew Holst / Getty Images)

Clark's 32.2 points per game lead all of Division I women's basketball, nearly 5 points ahead of University of Southern California freshman superstar JuJu Watkins at 27.8.

The Iowa star could have potentially put the record into the stratosphere because she is eligible to return for another season next year due to an exemption giving college athletes an extra year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, she announced on Feb. 29 that this season will be her last at Iowa, as she is turning pro and entering the 2024 WNBA Draft. She will presumably be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft by the Indiana Fever.

Retired WNBA legend Sue Bird told The Athletic she believed Clark could be a WNBA All-Star in her first season.

Another retired WNBA legend, Sheryl Swoopes, said in January that she thinks Clark will have an impact, but won't put up Iowa-type numbers in the pros right away due to the talent in the league. While calling a men's game on Feb. 21, ESPN analyst and former Duke guard Jay Williams said he felt Clark would need to win a national championship to be considered the greatest player of all time.

Who was Pete Maravich?

The late "Pistol Pete" Maravich is one of the legendary figures in basketball history and was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.

He achieved his scoring record in only 83 games for LSU over three seasons from 1967-70. Clark has played in 130 career games so far over four seasons.

Caitlin Clark  (Rich Clarkson / NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Caitlin Clark (Rich Clarkson / NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Maravich only played three seasons with the Tigers because freshmen didn't play varsity basketball for universities in the 1960s.

He averaged a mind-boggling 44.2 points per game during his LSU career, despite the 3-point shot not yet being in existence in the college game. The dazzling Clark has scored 25 percent of her career points on 3-pointers.

Clark is just the latest player to make a run at Maravich's revered record. Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis came just 4 points short of passing Maravich last year in finishing with 3,664 career points. Davis played five seasons and 144 career games for Detroit Mercy.

With his signature floppy hair and droopy socks, Maravich is remembered as a phenomenon for his ability as a ballhandler, passer and scorer. He went on to average 24.2 points per game over 12 seasons in the NBA, mostly with the Atlanta Hawks and the then-New Orleans Jazz.

The hardwood legend died of a heart attack at just 40 years old while playing pickup basketball with a group of people in a church gym in Pasadena, California, in 1988.

What other records does Caitlin Clark have?

On Feb. 28, Clark passed Lynette Woodard's collegiate women's scoring record.

Before the NCAA recognized women’s basketball in 1982, the sport was governed by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW).

The AIAW’s all-time scorer for large-college players was Woodard, who poured in 3,649 points for the University of Kansas from 1977-81. Clark passed her by one point following the win over Minnesota.

On Feb. 15, Clark passed current WNBA star Kelsey Plum to become the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women’s basketball history.

Plum had the record of 3,257 points from her career at the University of Washington, which she set in 2017. She now stars for the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces.

Clark scored 49 points in a win over Michigan on the night she set the career mark. That performance gave her the Iowa women's record for most points in a game.

Last season, Clark set the record for the most points scored in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament with 191 in six games. Her performance included back-to-back games with 40-plus points.

However, the AIAW record for all-time scoring by a small-college player appears out of reach for Clark. Pearl Moore scored 4,061 points for Francis Marion University in South Carolina from 1975-79.

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