The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Caitlin Clark becomes Iowa women’s basketball’s all-time leading scorer but prioritizes the win

Clark finished with a triple-double and fresh record but did not stop to celebrate until the Hawkeyes won.
Grace Smith
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark signs merchandise for fans after the Ally Tipoff, a basketball game between No. 3 Iowa and No. 8 Virginia Tech at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hokies, 80-76.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — When Caitlin Clark scored her 2,807th point of her career against Northern Iowa on Sunday, she wasn’t thinking about the fact that she had just surpassed Megan Gustafson to become Iowa women’s basketball’s all-time leading scorer.

Clark was aware she was 16 points shy of breaking Gustafson’s record 2,804 career points set in 2019 upon entering the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Gustafson had reached out to her the night before, telling her to go get the number and beat it. But it wasn’t at the top of her mind. Winning was.

Nearly three quarters into Sunday’s contest and the Panthers had been face-guarding Clark all game, holding her to a quiet first half — by her standards — in which she scored 13 points on just 3-of-8 from the field and 1-of-4 from deep.

With the third quarter winding down, Clark was at 15 points, tied with Gustafson, and in need of one more bucket to start growing her own record.

It was only a matter of time before the buzzer would sound to either end the quarter or bring a substitution in for her, should Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder find sustaining the massive Hawkeye lead not worth the risking an injury to Iowa’s most valuable weapon. 

But there Clark was with the ball in her hand on a drive from the right elbow, and nobody was within three feet of her in the paint. Eyes peeled wide open at the rim in front of her, her determination to get to the layup was as high as ever. 

And as she lifted off of her left foot to finally break the record, a defensive hand came out of nowhere and smacked the ball free. Out of bounds, Iowa ball.

The palms of Clark’s hands shot up in a shrug — not the confident Jordan-esque one seen after one of her logo threes but a confused one. She thought she was fouled.

So again she went after the inbounds pass, making a short drive from the right wing, this time through contact on her hip that she pushed through and spun around to rise up for another attempt.

And this time, she got the foul. And the record. She was officially Iowa women’s basketball’s all-time leading scorer.

And again, her palms shot up for a moment of more confusion as she so briefly glanced at the Iowa bench with a look that seemed to quickly ask where that call was on the last play.

But she turned back to the court and stopped at the free-throw line, adding the finishing touch to the and-one play. Not once did a celebration of the record come from Clark for the rest of the game.

“She is the best player in the country,” Northern Iowa head coach Tanya Warren said of Clark. “There are no ifs, ands, or buts … I don’t know if we’ll ever see another like her at least in my lifetime.”

Even after a triple-double of 24 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, Clark did not stop to rejoice at the feat she had just accomplished. Or if she did, it was lost in her celebration of the Hawkeyes’ 94-53 win with her teammates, even taking five minutes after the game to scribble her autograph onto kids’ shirts and shoes.

“It never really crossed my mind,” Clark said. “When I crossed 16 [points], I didn’t even realize. I didn’t even know. I was more so just focused on winning the game and enjoying that with my team.”

Because that’s what she does. She scores points, breaks records, and sets new ones — only pausing to celebrate when the Hawkeyes have won and her people are around her.

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About the Contributors
Colin Votzmeyer
Colin Votzmeyer, Assistant Sports Editor
Colin Votzmeyer is a junior at the University of Iowa studying journalism and mass communication with minors in history and criminology, law, and justice. Prior to his role as assistant sports editor, he previously served as digital producer, news reporter covering crime, cops, and courts, and sports reporter covering track and field and women's basketball. He plans on attending law school after his graduation with hopes of pursuing a career as a criminal defense attorney.
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.