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Caitlin Clark breaks NCAA scoring record with signature shot from the logo

IOWA CITY, IOWA — The record is hers. Finally. And she wasted no time setting it.

If there was any doubt that nerves would affect Caitlin Clark on her night, she quickly put those fears to rest. Clark exploded from the opening tip, taking the first pass of the game and cutting to the hoop for two. The crowd had barely quieted before Clark set up from deep and drained a three, giving her five on the night in just a matter of minutes. With the crowd still roaring, Gabbie Marshall pulled down a rebound on a Wolverines miss and pushed it ahead to Clark who took a few dribbles then – in a classic motion we’ve seen so many times – she bounced to her left and lifted a three from the logo.

Nothing but net. History. At the top of the list of the NCAA’s greatest scorers in basketball history, there is just one name: Caitlin Clark.

The moment brought a deafening roar from the sold out Carver-Hawkeye crowd as 15,000 cell phones flashed. There was no stopping the game to savor the moment, but Hawkeye coach Lisa Bluder did her best – calling a timeout to give the crowd a moment to show their appreciation. And for Clark herself to pause and absorb the moment.

The record is the new crowning achievement – for now – in Clark’s unparalleled young basketball career. The spoils of her victories were on display at Carver-Hawkeye Arena before the game, documenting her meteoric rise from three-time high school champion at Dowling Catholic to her national player of the year awards earned as she led the Hawkeyes to the cusp of a national title last March.

Clark needed just 126 games to set the new mark, nine games fewer than Washington’s Kelsey Plum needed when she set the former high in 2017.

It took Clark just 34 seconds into her Hawkeye career to begin her assault on the record that would one day be hers. In her first game in black-and-gold, playing against the UNI Panthers, Clark drew a foul on her first career shooting attempt and sunk both free throws – the first two steps on a 3,527 step journey to the top of the career scoring list. Clark, a true freshman just months out of high school, would finish the game as the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer with 27 points.

Clark would go on to lead all NCAA women in scoring her freshman year and sophomore year. After finishing her junior year 36 points of a three-peat, she’s turned things on in her senior year. Clark is more than 200 points ahead of the next highest-scorer in the sport, USC’s JuJu Watkins.

Clark, of course, is more than just a great scorer. She leads all NCAA women in assists as well this season. Entering Thursday’s game, Clark had recorded 1,005 career assists – fifth most all-time and trailing record holder Andrea Nagy formerly of Florida International by 160 assists. Clark passed Samantha Logic earlier this season to become the Hawkeyes’ all-time assist queen.

Clark has done her best to shrug off the individual glory laid upon her shoulders – always deferring to her teammates and her coaches to explain her success. The next goal for Clark – and the Hawkeyes – is clear: to take the next step, the last step, and raise an NCAA championship trophy.

That discussion is for another day and another month. Tonight is Caitlin’s night.

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