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 passes Pete Maravich for NCAA all-time scoring record

The record came on a pair of free throws.
Ayrton Breckenridge
A Nike advertisement of Iowa guard Caitlin Clark is seen on The Edge building on East Burlington Street in downtown Iowa City on Saturday, March 2, 2024. The poster was put up in the early morning.

Caitlin Clark has earned comparisons to LSU and Utah Jazz legend Pete Maravich for years. Nicknamed “Ponytail Pete,” she’s seen plenty of his highlights. But with all of Carver-Hawkeye Arena on its feet and watching her alone at the free throw line in Sunday’s 93-83 Iowa win over No. 2 Ohio State, she had the chance to beat him.

While Clark tends to get out to a hot start in her first quarters — 15 quick points against Minnesota on Wednesday — today was a bit slower. Her first three-point attempt smacked the rim and shot out, and another soon after that missed the rim entirely. 

In fact, Clark fought frantically throughout the first half to find the bottom of the bucket amid scrappy, physical, and fouling Ohio State defense that face-guarded her in the full court and denied her touches in the half court.

“I think Ohio State’s team has always battled us really, really well,” Clark said. “It goes back and forth a little bit, and I think that’s what makes it so fun. And they’re a very, very talented group … so we’ve had a lot of fun battles.”

In such a case, with officials rather timid to blow their whistles as Clark often felt they were today, there’s not much a hooper can do but stick to her game. Control what she can control.

So Clark got herself going — especially from deep with a pair of signature off-balanced threes and a silky catch-and-shoot that looked as pure, confident, and comfortable as she’s ever been with the ball in her hands. Iowa pulled ahead to a two- or three-possession lead for much of the half.

And with the game clock winding down toward halftime soon after, Clark was up to 16 points and two shy of breaking Maravich’s record to become the all-time leading scorer in NCAA basketball history — men’s or women’s. She brought the ball up the floor and turned to her coaches at the bench for a signal of the final play call of the half.

Horns Down? — Clark asked head coach Lisa Bluder, signaling the motion of her pointer and pinky fingers pointed downward with her off hand as she held a dribble just inside of halfcourt. She then turned back to the rim and took her defender in isolation, pulling from deep and watching as the rock hurtled toward the rim. 

For three. For a comfortable lead at halftime.

And for the NCAA basketball scoring record, men’s or women’s, surpassing Pistol Pete.

But it didn’t fall. The record would have to wait for the second half.

Until, just after the miss, an Ohio State technical foul for arguing a call just three-tenths of a second before the end of the second quarter sent Clark to the free throw line for two shots. One to tie the LSU legend and another to pass him.

Nonchalantly, Clark nailed the first one, wiped the dust off of the bottom of her white and gold Kobe shoes, rehearsed her form, and took the ball again. All alone at the free throw line, the ball on her fingertips, her eyes staring up at the rim, all eyes inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on her — Caitlin Clark had yet another shot at history. 

All net.

So as Carver-Hawkeye Arena exploded and the announcer shouted out Clark’s latest achievement, she only nodded and pointed teammate Gabbie Marshall to the position she needed to be in on the block for the last play. 

When most might ignore the milliseconds left on the clock and call it halftime, her face was straight, determined, and focused on the next task — to get two more points before the break.

“It’s hard for me to wrap my head around everything that’s going on,” Clark said. “I think I’m just trying to soak in the moment. A record is a record. I don’t want that to be the reason people remember me.”

And when Marshall nailed a wide-open corner three on a find from Clark in the next quarter, that put Iowa up 14 and forced an Ohio State timeout. Only then — not amid her own feats, but her team’s — did Clark find Marshall, embrace her, and roar out a “Let’s go” in honor of the connection.

“I think that’s what’s been so fun about this whole ride is the style of basketball we play,” Clark said. “People love it. They’re not just here for me. I’m sure I help, but 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.”

With the sound of the game’s final buzzer completing the win one quarter later, only then did Clark finally break out into a soft smile and meet her teammates in celebration. Because the most important record to her is the one on the schedule.

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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.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.