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Caitlin Clark breaks Pete Maravich’s NCAA Division I scoring record

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) celebrates after becoming the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I basketball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, March 3, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Cliff Jette)

Caitlin Clark stood alone at the free-throw line on Sunday and made the foul shots that put her atop the all-time NCAA Division I scoring chart.

The flash and pizzazz of her game have made her the biggest name in all of college basketball. Yet it was two free throws after a technical foul that pushed Clark past the late Pete Maravich’s 54-year-old record in No. 6 Iowa’s 93-83 win over No. 2 Ohio State.

Clark entered the game in Iowa City needing 18 points to pass Maravich’s total of 3,667, amassed in just 83 games over three seasons at LSU (1967-70). She finished with 35 to run her total to 3,685 in 130 games.

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Maravich’s mark fell four days after Clark broke Lynette Woodard’s major college women’s record when she scored 33 points against Minnesota on Wednesday.

“Just to be in the same realm of all these players who have been so successful, whether it’s Pete or 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.”

Best known for her long 3-pointers, Clark was called on to go to the foul line after Cotie McMahon was assessed a technical for giving her a little push during a dead ball with less than a second to go in the first half.

Clark had no immediate reaction after the second shot went through, as if it hadn’t sunk in yet. She said she knew the record had fallen only after it was announced.

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It didn’t matter to her that she made history with two free throws rather than a half-court logo 3-pointer.

“That’s like the hardest thing to do in basketball is to make free throws with nobody (around you) at the free-throw line,” she said.

She had gotten off to a slow start Sunday. Her first shot was a 3-pointer that bounced off the rim. She missed a layup and from deep on the right wing before making a 3 from the left side for her first basket.

After starting 2 for 7, she made 3 of her next 4 shots — including three straight 3s, each deeper than the previous.

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Woodard was among those at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to help Clark celebrate senior day. Also on hand were basketball great Maya Moore, who was Clark’s favorite player, and Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.

“It’s a great time for women’s basketball,” Woodard said in a television interview. “Caitlin is leading the way. As she was chipping away, I said records are made to be broken. Also, they’re made to be honored. Because of her, my records are being honored. She’s gone beyond that now, she’s gone beyond Pete ... I passed her the baton to go ahead and burst through that ceiling, and I’m so happy for her.”

On Thursday, Clark announced she would enter the 2024 WNBA draft and skip the fifth year of eligibility available to athletes who competed during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Indiana Fever, and the WNBA already is seeing a rise in ticket sales.

Logitix, which researches prices on ticket resale platforms, reported an average sale price of $598 for a ticket to Sunday’s game purchased since Feb. 1.

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Kiran Nanjappa, who was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and now lives in Denver, said he paid more than $200 for his ticket.

“She’s a truly once-in-a-lifetime player,” he said. “I’ve been watching Iowa basketball for 40 years, and I’ve never seen a player like her, men’s or women’s. I’ll just say this — I paid more to see her today than I paid to see Michael Jordan three times at the end of his career. And I never thought I’d say that.”

Clark is all but assured of one or two more appearances at the arena in Iowa City. Iowa is projected to be a No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament, meaning it would be at home for the first two rounds.

Pearl Moore of Francis Marion owns the overall women’s record with 4,061 points from 1975-79 at the small-college level in the AIAW. Moore had 177 points at Anderson Junior College before enrolling at Francis Marion.

Clark is 376 points behind Moore, and she has two to nine more games left in an Iowa uniform, depending on how far the Hawkeyes advance in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

The fall of Maravich’s record is subject to scrutiny.

Maravich’s all-time scoring mark is one of the more remarkable in sports history. There was no shot clock or 3-point line in his era. The 3-point line was adopted in 1986.

Maravich averaged 44.2 points per game. He scored more than 60 in a game four times, topping out at 69 against Alabama on Feb. 7, 1970.

LSU coach Kim Mulkey, who grew up in Louisiana and played at Louisiana Tech, said after her team’s win over Kentucky on Sunday that comparing Maravich and Clark would be like comparing apples and oranges.

“What Clark has done is unbelievable and her name will be right up there at the top,” Mulkey said. “But he played over here with no 3-point line, three years, and I don’t think we need to make too much of, ‘Well, she passed him because he’s a man.’ She’s who she is, and that’s awesome. Lord knows when I (coached) against her: ‘Are you kidding me? What a generational talent.’”

Clark averages 28.3 points for her career. Her biggest output was 49 points against Michigan on Feb. 15, when she passed Kelsey Plum as the NCAA women’s Division I career scoring leader.

Clark has 55 games with at least 30 points, the most of any player in men’s or women’s college basketball over the last 25 years. She has six triple-doubles this season and 17 in her career.

“What Caitlin’s done has been amazing. She’s a fantastic player, great for the women’s game and basketball in general,” Maravich’s eldest son, Jaeson, told The Associated Press last week.

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