Caitlin Clark breaks Pete Maravich's NCAA all-time scoring record

IOWA CITY, Iowa — It’s Caitlin Clark … and everybody else.

Clark officially stands alone atop the record books after charging past Pete Maravich to become the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer in women’s and men’s basketball.

The Iowa point guard entered her final collegiate regular season game against Ohio State on Sunday needing 18 points to pass Maravich. She scored 11 straight Iowa points in a second-quarter stretch and then hit two free throws just before halftime to break the record.

Clark was awarded the free throws after officials called a dead-ball technical foul on Ohio State's Cotie McMahon for arguing a call with 0.3 seconds remaining in the second quarter. She hit the first to reach 17 points and tie Maravich. She then hit her second to pass Maravich and extend Iowa's lead to 47-39.

Clark told Fox Sports' Allison Williams at halftime that she wasn't thinking about the record while she was at the line.

"Not really," Clark said when asked if the record was going through her mind while she was shooting. "But then when they announced it and everybody screamed, that's when I knew. Pretty cool."

Clark passed Maravich in a game with high stakes attached independent of her record quest. Her sixth-ranked Hawkeyes hosted No. 2 Ohio State in the season finale for both with NCAA tournament seeding implications on the line.

Iowa won the game, 93-83, to secure the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Big Ten tournament with a 15-3 conference record. Ohio State remains the No. 1 seed after falling to 16-2. Clark finished with a game-high 35 points alongside nine assists, six rebounds and three steals. She shot 10 of 26 from the field and 6 of 17 from 3-point distance.

The Buckeyes fought to keep things competitive after digging a 71-54 third-quarter hole. But they never closed the gap to closer than eight points.

How high will Clark set the record?

Clark averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game to stay on pace for the record largely viewed as untouchable over the past 54 years. Maravich scored 3,667 points over a three-year career at LSU that finished in 1970.

Clark has time to add more to her career total too. Iowa will play in the Big Ten tournament this week in Minneapolis, which means up to three more games for the Hawkeyes. A repeat run to the NCAA championship game in April would add six more. At her scoring average, Clark could add nearly 300 more points to the total.

The Hawkeyes should remain on a top-four seed line in the NCAA tournament and host the first two games in Iowa City. The super regional sites are Portland and Albany, New York.

But this was her final regular season game at home after she announced late last week she will enter the WNBA Draft, forgoing the extra year of eligibility allowed under the COVID-19 waiver. The Indiana Fever have the No. 1 pick and fans will be in attendance at the draft for the first time since 2016 when the Seattle Storm selected four-time NCAA champion Breanna Stewart.

Ahead of the senior day festivities, Nike unveiled a six-story tall sign of Clark in downtown Iowa City. Girls leaned out of back seats to snap a photo of the crew hanging the banner, and fans walking by posed with it.

The company, one of Clark’s many endorsement deals, also put up signs with quotes about the growth of Clark’s career and the fandom she’s accumulated over her four years.

The first from 2009: “Caitlin Clark shouldn’t be allowed to play in a boys tournament.”

And from 2023: “Caitlin Clark is the biggest star in basketball.”

How Clark, Maravich compare

Clark and Maravich played in vastly different eras. Maravich’s time didn’t have a 3-point line and freshmen weren’t varsity-eligible. He attempted 38.1 shots per game as the main offensive weapon relied upon by head coach Peter “Press” Maravich, his father. He averaged 44.2 points per game over an 83-game career.

Pistol Pete’s legendary mark spent decades on lists of records unlikely to fall. Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis came a bucket short last year, but many critics waved off the threat since Davis was in his fifth season. He scored 3,664 points in 143 games, an average of 25.4 points per game while shooting 40.8% overall.

Clark entered her senior season at Iowa with 2,717 career points, 1,055 of which she scored as a junior during Iowa’s run to the Final Four. She came in as a consistent 27 ppg scorer, but took on more of a load this season after the graduations of Monika Czinano and McKenna Warnock. Her 46.9% overall shooting clip and 39.5% from 3 are in line with previous seasons. She averaged a career-high 22.6 attempts per game this year. She’s attempted more than 30 shots in a game six times, and never attempted more than 34.

Nearly half of her points (1,509 points, 41% of her total) came from beyond the arc, and many from outside 25 feet. The shots are colloquially known as “logo 3s” and are what have drawn in casual fans to watch Iowa basketball. But they’re never ones out of desperation. Clark practices from far out and has developed it into muscle memory. It was a shot from near the logo that gave her the all-time women’s scoring crown and is now marked on the Carver-Hawkeye Arena floor.

Caitlin Clark’s records

The NCAA all-time record is the latest in a month of ascending to the top of lists. She passed Kelsey Plum for first on the NCAA women’s Division I all-time scoring list with a career-high 49 points against Michigan at home on Feb. 15. It was an arena-record single-game performance. The location she shot the record-breaking shot from is marked with her name and a No. 22 logo.

"I'm actually very grateful to pass that baton,” Plum, a two-time WNBA champion with the Las Vegas Aces, said ahead of the game. “I'm very happy for her.”

Plum scored 3,527 points during a four-year career at Washington that ended in 2017. It is the women’s record that the NCAA honors, but was not the most points a woman scored in college at the large-school level. Lynette Woodard scored 3,649 points playing at Kansas between 1977 and 1981 when the AIAW governed women’s college athletics. The NCAA did not sponsor women’s sports until 1982, a full decade after Title IX passed, and with few exceptions it does not include stats from the AIAW era in its record books.

Clark passed Woodard’s mark to hold the “true record,” in head coach Lisa Bluder’s eyes, with a 33-point triple-double against Minnesota on Wednesday night.

“The NCAA didn’t want to recognize women and what they did back in the 1980s,” Clark said after breaking Woodard’s record. “I think it just speaks to the foundation that these players have laid for us to have opportunities to be able to play in environments like this, in front of crowds like this. I wouldn't have an opportunity to do what I’m doing every single night if it weren’t for people like her.”

Other women have scored more points, but at lower competition levels. Pearl Moore scored 4,061 points playing at Francis Marion in the late 1970s and is credited with the “small school” record. Grace Beyer, a fifth-year senior at the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy, broke the NAIA scoring record last month.

Clark holds various school, Big Ten and Division I scoring records for 3-point shooting, made field goals and the like. She’s flirting with the single-season scoring average record (33.6 ppg set in 1989 by Mississippi Valley State's Patricia Hoskins) and the career scoring average (28.4 ppg by Hoskins from 1986-89). Clark is averaging 28.3 ppg over her career heading into Sunday.

The Iowa native is the first to score 3,000 points with 1,000 assists. She remains sixth in all-time assists with a shot at moving up after adding to her 1,049 assists heading into Sunday’s game. Suzie McConnell (1,307) holds the record followed by Andrea Nagy (1,165), Courtney Vandersloot (1,118), Sabrina Ionescu (1,091) and Tine Freil (1,088).

Her 17 career triple-doubles trail only Sabrina Ionescu (26), and are five more than men’s leader Kyle Collinsworth had at BYU (12).