When will Caitlin Clark break all-time NCAA men’s/women’s basketball record?

Sam Joseph, CNN | 2/26/2024, 10:19 a.m.
After recently becoming the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women’s basketball history, Caitlin Clark is chasing another record.
Clark celebrates after becoming women's college basketball's leading scorer. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters via CNN Newsource

After recently becoming the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women’s basketball history, Caitlin Clark is chasing another record.

The University of Iowa superstar has scored 3,617 career points, 50 short of basketball Hall of Famer Pete Maravich’s total of 3,667 that he scored at Louisiana State University (LSU), which is the all-time NCAA men’s and women’s basketball record.

Maravich’s record is remarkable given he only played three years at LSU – averaging 44.2 points per game (ppg) – while achieving his points haul in the era before the three-point line and shot clock existed.

Clark’s superstardom at college level has drawn comparisons to Maravich’s total domination at LSU, earning her the nickname ‘Ponytail Pete.’

She broke Kelsey Plum’s women’s college basketball scoring record of 3,527 against the Michigan Wolverines on February 15, dropping a career-high 49 in the process. She made history in trademark fashion, draining a long three-pointer from near the halfcourt logo to etch her name in the record books.

Clark’s first game as the women’s record holder came on the road against the No. 14 Indiana Hoosiers on February 22. All eyes were on Clark and the Hawkeyes, though Indiana scored the upset, winning 86-69 to give Iowa its largest losing margin of the season.

Clark was held to 24 points – her second lowest total of the season – leaving her short of Maravich’s record, though she would have needed a herculean effort near Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary NBA record of scoring 100 points in a single game to break the record on Thursday night – she entered the contest 98 points behind ‘Pistol Pete.’

Clark inched closer to history against Illinois on February 25. She was held to 24 points once again but also grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out 10 assists to post a triple-double in a comfortable 101-85 win over the Fighting Illini.

The Hawkeyes are 16-0 in games that Clark has recorded a triple-double.

The reigning national player of the year is leading the country in scoring this season, averaging 32.1 ppg, but would need to set a new career-high and score 51 if she is to pass Maravich against Minnesota on February 28.

Based on her season average though, the 22-year-old is most likely to break the record at home versus Ohio State in Iowa’s final regular season game on March 3.

Clark also has the opportunity to blow these records out of the water if she elects to forgo the 2024 WNBA draft – where she is projected to be selected first overall – and remain in college for a fifth season. The senior has an additional year of college eligibility due to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on previous NCAA seasons.

This may be an attractive prospect for Clark, as a result of the 2021 name, image and likeness (NIL) ruling that allows college athletes to make money off their personal brand though the prospect of bigger challenges on the professional level might prove too alluring for the standout star.