Caitlin Clark makes history, surpasses Pistol Pete as NCAA's all-time leading scorer

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Pete Maravich

In the final game against Ohio State, Clark achieved a remarkable feat, surpassing Pete Maravich for the all-time scoring record with an outstanding performance in the first half.

IOWA CITY, IOWA- MARCH 3: Guard Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes answers questions after the match-up against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on March 3, 2024 in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

It's official. Caitlin Clark passed "pistol" Pete Maravich and is the NCAA men's and women's all-time leading scorer. In a record-breaking season, Clark is truly one of one. She came into the game 18 points shy, and now holds the record with 3,685 points.

And with chaos surrounding Iowa City, Clark started her day at 6:22 a.m., and headed to shoot around. With ESPN College Game Day present for the second consecutive year, Clark and the Hawkeyes did their best to go about their ordinary routines.

And she stands alone. The Iowa native matched then surpassed the record with two free-throw attempts subsequent to Ohio State's technical foul. Although falling short of breaking the standard three-point shot record, Clark etched her name in history at the free-throw line. With all attention fixed on number 22, she flawlessly sank the free-throws with .3 seconds left in the first half, up 46-39.

Clark appeared indifferent how she broke the record, even if it was a logo three. With Ohio State receiving a technical foul, she was tasked with shooting two free throws without any opponents present at the line. It seemed as though she was destined to achieve the record all on her own, with only herself at the line.

"Honestly, like I didn't really care," said Clark about making history from the free-throw line. "It was cool to hear everybody just start screaming. I thought that gave us a lot of momentum going into halftime." (Fox Sports YouTube).

While free-throws may seem fairly easy, it's sure a lot of pressure when the entire arena has eyes on you.

"I'm just glad to make a free throw, " the NCAA all-time scoring leader told the media. "That's like the hardest thing to do in basketball is make free throws with nobody at the free throw line." (Fox Sports YouTube).

In their last matchup, Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes dropped a heartbreaking loss to Ohio State in overtime. In the loss, Clark finished with 45 points,2 steals, 1 block, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds. This time around, Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes secured the 93-83 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

RELATED: Iowa vs. Ohio State game preview.

Like a Cinderella story, Clark and the Iowa Buckeyes delivered a captivating performance before almost 15,000 fans at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena. In the culmination of the regular season, Iowa clinched victory on none other than Senior Day. When asked about the record-breaking day, Clark said it will eventually hit her. Passing Pete Maravich and Kelsey Plum is quite the accomplishment. However, there are several successful ballers that have come before Clark's time.

"I don't think many people understand how many amazing players have come before me and been able to score the ball and do it at such a high rate. Just to be in the same realm of all these players who have been so successful--whether it's Pete, or whether it's Kelsey Plum or Lynette Woodard." (Fox Sports YouTube).

In the eagerly awaited matchup, a host of notable figures graced the event, among them UConn and WNBA icon Maya Moore. While Clark admired Moore during her upbringing, it was a delightful surprise for Clark when Moore made an appearance before the big game. Indeed, the Hawkeye star was "fangirling" intensely over Moore. Also in attendance was Jake from State Farm, Travis Scott, and basketball legend Lynette Woodard.

"For her [Maya Moore] to be here, surprise me was pretty special," Clark told the media post-game. "I felt like I was that young girl again, it's crazy how life can come full circle. She's just such a great role model, great person, not only a great basketball player." (Fox Sports YouTube).

Clark wrapped up the last regular season game of her career with an impressive stat line of 35 points, 3 steals, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds. Despite her reputation for sharpshooting, the guard struggled with her accuracy overall. Starting with three missed shots, Clark concluded shooting 10-26 (37%) from the field and 6-17 (35.2%) from beyond the arc.

Facing off against Ohio State's formidable defense, Clark found it challenging to penetrate the paint. However, she adjusted her strategy and began driving to the basket, resulting in nine free-throw attempts. While many focus on her scoring abilities, she has incredible court vision, and her facilitaitng was elite. With several high velocity outlet passes, Clark often found Hannah Stuelke, who finished with 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists, on 9-12 field goal shooting.

With Ohio State's intense focus on Clark, it created openings for her teammates to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Clark's exceptional ability to distribute the ball to her teammates with precision was put on full display. Despite being known for her scoring prowess, she handled Ohio State's double teams and full-court press, showcasing her versatility on the court in distributing the rock.

Despite Iowa commanding a 17-point lead, the Buckeyes managed to narrow the deficit to just four points. However, unlike the previous game, Iowa ensured they maintained their lead and stayed focused. Even after senior guard Molly Davis suffered a leg injury, the team persevered. Davis's injury was severe enough that she had to be carried off the court and later returned in a wheelchair, remaining court side for the remainder of the game.

The pivotal change came when Iowa, under the leadership of head coach Lisa Bluder, transitioned from primarily employing a zone defense to adopting a man-to-man matchup as the game drew to a close. While both teams committed a high number of turnovers, it was Iowa's ability to attack inside, and find success on the free-throw line. They outscored the Buckeyes in the paint 42-28 and had 15 more free-throw attempts at the line. Overall, it was an intense, physical, defensive matchup between the two rivals.

For Ohio State, senior guard Jacy Sheldon finished the game with 24 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and 9 assists, on 57.1 percent three-point shooting. Taylor Thierry, Cotie McMahon, Rebeka Mikulasikova, and Celeste Taylor all put up points in double figures.

It was undeniably a statement victory against the no.2 seed Buckeyes. Although not the official last home game, Clark and the Hawkeyes will host the first two rounds of the tournament as a high seed.

Clark was quick to acknowledge the success of her team and teammates before delving into the significance of the upcoming event. However, she also shed light on the journey they've undertaken. As a true generational talent, Clark, along with her teammates, has played a pivotal role in shaping the growth and evolution of basketball. In her lifetime, she's witnessed an unprecedented level of support, particularly in the realm of women's hoops.

"It's been a lot", said Clark on the historic day. "This is what's so fun and so special. This is what we've built here, and these are moments that you dream of. Obviously, our fans were incredible. To celebrate our seniors and four other people that have meant so much to me and given so much to this program, it's really awesome." (Fox Sports YouTube).

Other than Clark, four of Iowa's seniors were recognized after the game--Sharon Goodman, Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin, and Molly Davis. Aside from Clark and Molly's injury, Goodman, Marshall, and Martin combined for 23 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, and 4 assists, on 50 percent three-point shooting.

After the game, Clark expressed her appreciation for the energy that the fans bring to every single game. She emphasized that the contagious vibes and the team's cohesive play are what make the experience special. While she undoubtedly enjoys a massive following as an Iowa native, she noted that the crowd cheers loudly for every member of the team.

"The style of basketball we play is like, people love it" said Clark. They are not just here for me, I'm sure I help. At the end of the day, we have a really great team and a really great culture, and that's what makes it so fun. " (Fox Sports).

While acknowledging that history was indeed made with the scoring record, Clark remains focused on her team's success. She expresses a desire not to be solely remembered for breaking the record, as she believes there is much more to her contributions to the team and the sport.

"A record is a record, Clark said. I don't want that to be the reason people remember me. I hope people remember me for the way I play with a smile on my face, my competitive fire. Sure, they can remember the wins. But also, the fun me and my teammates had together." (Fox Sports YouTube).

Selflessly, Clark, a typical college student, holds deep regard for her friends and teammates. Despite her exceptional talent, she adeptly balances her responsibilities, prioritizing authenticity above all as Caitlin.

With the regular season concluded, Iowa now gears up for the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA tournament in mid-March. Riding high on momentum, the Hawkeyes made a resounding statement on the grandest night of the year.

Coming up is the Big Ten Tournament, which begins on Mar. 6. Soon after March Madness and the NCAA women's basketball tournament will start on Mar. 20.

Stay tuned for more NCAA and WNBA related articles. Click here

Sara Jane Gamelli is a full-time Sportswriter, Content Creator and Social Media Manager for Ballislife Bets. She has a focus on the NBA, WNBA, NCAA Basketball, and the NFL. Sara Jane currently resides in Connecticut/NYC area with her Cat and Dog. SJ has her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Economics, with a minor in business administration.


One Reply to “Caitlin Clark makes history, surpasses Pistol Pete as NCAA's all-time leading scorer”

  1. Caitlin Clark's historic achievement in surpassing Pistol Pete Maravich as the NCAA's all-time leading scorer marks a significant milestone in women's basketball. With a stellar performance in the final game against Ohio State, Clark demonstrated her talent and resilience,

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