March Madness: How Caitlin Clark's 10 career triple-doubles rank in NCAA history
Sabrina Ionescu holds all-time record with 26 in her collegiate career
Iowa junior Caitlin Clark is known for her triple-double prowess and is up to 10 in her career after notching four this season heading into the NCAA tournament. That mark is good for second all-time in Division I women's basketball behind Sabrina Ionescu.
Clark, again a leading National Player of the Year contender, broke the Big Ten record on Dec. 4 with her seventh career triple-double. Her latest was in the Big Ten tournament championship game when she had 30 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds to beat Ohio State.
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Ionescu, the Oregon star and 2020 No. 1 WNBA Draft pick to the New York Liberty, had 26 triple-doubles in her four-year collegiate career. By her sophomore year, she had set the women’s record and as a junior cruised past the overall NCAA Division I men’s or women’s record.
Triple-doubles are not rare in the collegiate game as they had historically been in the WNBA, yet few have collected more than a handful until recently.
Here's how Clark's triple-doubles and averages compare to the "triple-double queen."
Caitlin Clark's triple-double pace
Clark currently has 10 triple-doubles entering the NCAA tournament, tied for second in NCAA history.
Her only one as a freshman was in December of that season. As a sophomore, she added five more to tie for third-most in a season. They were massive ones that included back-to-back 30-point games for elite NBA-level company. She became the first Division I player to lead the nation in points (27) and assists (eight) last year.
She came into her junior season tied for fourth-most career triple-doubles with six. The triple-double against Wisconsin in December was her first of the season and broke the tie with Samantha Logic (also of Iowa) for most in men's or women's Big Ten history.
Heading into the NCAA tournament, she is averaging 27 ppg (third), 7.5 rpg (167th, 95th percentile) and 8.3 apg (first). No. 2-seed Iowa faces No. 15 Southeastern Louisiana at 4 p.m. ET Friday (ESPN) to open the NCAA tournament in the Seattle 4 region.
Sabrina Ionescu’s triple-double record
The bulk of Ionescu's 26 triple-doubles over 142 games, all of which she started, were in her junior and senior seasons. In addition to those, she had three more games in which she had at least 9 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, according to Her Hoop Stats. And she scored at least eight of each category 36 times. Her career-high in steals is six.
Ionescu's first triple-double was in the seventh game of her collegiate career in November 2016; she added three more that season. The six she had as a sophomore tied her with Youngstown State's Danielle Carson for most in a season. Carson was a senior in 1986 when she set the mark with the help of a record three consecutive ones that fall.
As a junior in December 2018, Ionescu broke the NCAA men's record, set two years prior as the overall NCAA Division I record. It was the 13th of her career, besting Kyle Collinsworth of BYU and pulling her further away from Chastadie Barrs, who had nine for the Lamar women's program from 2016-19.
She broke her own season record with eight that season, including a memorable NCAA tournament one against Indiana. It was after that game that Ionescu made headlines for calling out ESPN's lack of coverage of women's sports. Murray State's Ja Morant had opened the men's tournament with a triple-double days prior and media outlets, including ESPN, incorrectly described it as the "first March Madness triple-double since 2012" when Ionescu had one the previous March.
As a senior, she added eight more jewels to her crown. Ionescu also holds the record for most seasons with a triple-double (four) and most against one opponent with three against Arizona.
11/27/16 — 11p, 12r, 11a for first-ever
3/16/18 — NCAA Tournament R64
3/24/19 — NCAA R32 vs. Indiana
2/24/20 — 21p, 12r, 12a in last one vs. Stanford
Ionescu averaged 18 points (45.5 FG%), 7.3 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 34.6 minutes per game at Oregon. Her rebounding and assist numbers increased every season. She became the first player to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in NCAA Division I history. Her final line is 2,562 points, 1,040 rebounds and 1,091 assists. She has three triple-doubles in 65 games in the WNBA.