The explosion that made history, How the Iowa star can break the all-time scoring record? (VIDEO in comment)

Caitlin Clark chasing history: How the Iowa star can break the all-time scoring record

Caitlin Clark etched her name in the women’s college basketball history books earlier this season when she scored her 3,000th career point. Now, Iowa’s superstar guard has her sights set on an even bigger record.

Clark, who has put up eye-popping scoring numbers since her freshman season at Iowa in 2020-21, is closing in on Kelsey Plum’s Division I women’s scoring record. Following the Hawkeyes’ 98-69 win over Purdue on Jan. 10, Clark has 3,244 career points, trailing Plum’s mark of 3,527 by 283, with most of her senior season remaining.

Clark does have an extra year of eligibility left due to the 2020 pandemic-shortened season. If she did exercise the option to return to Iowa next season, Clark would almost certainly surpass the former Washington star’s career scoring mark, barring injury.

But if this is Clark’s last year playing college basketball, she has 17 regular-season games remaining, plus the Big Ten Tournament and likely NCAA Tournament games to reach 3,527 points.


 

So, let’s take a look at how many points Clark would need to average per game in order to break Plum’s mark and how quickly she can get there (assuming she plays every game).

How many points per game would Clark need to score if she wants to surpass Plum’s mark by the end of the regular season?

If Clark hopes to break Plum’s record and get it behind her by the time the 2024 Big Ten Tournament starts, she must average 21.8 points per game the rest of the way.

While putting up that many points per game is a tall task for any college basketball player, it isn’t for Clark. She’s scoring 31 points per game this season, which is 4.9 points per game more than the second-leading scorer in Division 1. Clark has scored at least 22 points in all but one of Iowa’s first 17 games this season.

How many points per game would Clark need to score if she wants to surpass Plum’s mark prior to the NCAA Tournament?

If Iowa ends up defending its title in the Big Ten Tournament, Clark would need to average 17.7 points per game to break Plum’s mark.

If Iowa were knocked out in the semifinals, Clark would need to average 18.9 points per game in order to break Plum’s mark prior to the NCAA Tournament. If Iowa lost in the quarterfinals, Clark would need to average 20.2 points per game to break Plum’s mark.

Iowa could technically play four games in the Big Ten Tournament. If that were to happen, Clark would need to score 16.8 points per game to break Plum’s mark prior to the Big Dance. But it’s highly unlikely that Iowa wouldn’t finish in the top eight of the Big Ten regular-season standings. Iowa has finished in the top five of the conference’s regular-season standings in each season since Clark arrived in 2020-21.

Beyond the Big Ten Tournament, it’s obviously unclear how long Iowa’s season will last. The Hawkeyes made the title game last season, losing to LSU. If Iowa made it to the Big Ten Tournament title game and the NCAA title game, Clark would only need to average 13 points per game to break Plum’s career mark.

Suffice to say, barring an injury or any unforeseen circumstances, Clark is on pace to break Plum’s record, which leads us to our next question …

When will Clark break Plum’s record?

Clark appears to be on track to break Plum’s record by late February.

If she keeps at her current pace of 31 points per game this season, Clark would break Plum’s record at some point during Iowa’s game against Indiana in Bloomington on Feb. 22, doing it with three games to spare in the regular season. If she scores at her career pace of 28.1 points per game for the rest of the season, Clark would break Plum’s mark by Iowa’s home game against Illinois on Feb. 25, with two regular-season games to spare.

Iowa doesn’t have any long stretches of playing at home or on the road during conference play. The Hawkeyes alternate playing on the road and at home in each of their final eight games of the season. Iowa closes out the regular season at home against Ohio State on March 3 (1 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

How much longer until Clark cracks the top five and other historic scoring marks?

As Iowa ramps up its conference slate, Clark sits in fifth place on the all-time Division I women’s college basketball scoring list with 3,244 career points. She, by far, has the most points among all active college basketball players as well, so there isn’t a threat of anyone catching up to her.

Clark can possibly move into fourth place on the all-time scoring as soon as her next game. She trails Brittney Griner by just 39 points for the fourth-most points in Divison I women’s college basketball history.

Clark only needs to average 11.5 points per game for the rest of the regular season to pass Jackie Stiles for the third-most points ever for a women’s college basketball player. She’d need to score 12.2 points per game for the rest of the regular season to pass former Ohio State star Kelsey Mitchell for the second-most points of all time, which is also the Big Ten record for points.

Of course, it’s rare to see Clark score fewer than 20 points in a game. She’s scored at least 20 points in every game this season and only scored fewer than 20 points in a game three times last season.

Charting Clark’s path and Iowa’s schedule for the rest of the regular season

Iowa has 17 regular-season games remaining with all of them coming in conference play. Clark has averaged 27.5 points per game in conference play over her career and averaged 27 points per game against Big Ten opponents last season.

Here’s a look at Iowa’s remaining schedule, how many points per game Clark averages against each team, and how many points per game she needs to score in order to break Plum’s record.

Jan. 13: Indiana — 28 points per game vs. Indiana in her career (8 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app)
Jan. 16: Wisconsin — 23.7 points per game vs. Wisconsin in her career
Jan. 21: at Ohio State — 31.6 points per game vs. Ohio State in her career
Jan. 27: Nebraska — 34.3 points per game vs. Nebraska in her career
Jan. 31: at Northwestern — 21.3 points per game vs.  Northwestern in her career
Feb. 3: at Maryland — 26 points per game vs. Maryland in her career (5:30 p.m. ET or 8 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app)
Feb. 8: Penn State — 25.5 points per game vs. Penn State in her career
Feb. 11: at Nebraska — 34.3 points per game vs. Nebraska in her career; would break record by end of this game if she scores 35.5 points per game in the next eight games (1 p.m. ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app)
Feb. 15: Michigan — 34.8 points per game vs. Michigan in her career; would break record by end of this game if she scores 31.6 points per game in next nine games
Feb. 22: at Indiana — 28 points per game vs. Indiana in her career; would break record by end of this game if she scores 28.4 points per game in next 10 games
Feb. 25: Illinois — 23.7 points per game vs. Illinois in her career; would break record by end of this game if she scores 25.9 points per game in next 11 games (1 p.m. ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app)
Feb. 28: at Minnesota — 32.2 points per game vs. Minnesota in her career; would break record by end of this game if she scores 23.7 points per game in next 12 games
March 3: Ohio State — 31.6 points per game vs. Ohio State in her career; would break record by end of this game if she scores 21.8 points per game in next 13 games (1 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app)

Wait, isn’t Clark one of the nation’s top passers as well?

Indeed, she is! Clark’s 7.7 assists per game this season is the second-best mark in women’s college basketball. Yet, it’s also her fewest per game since her freshman season, posting at least eight assists per game in each of the last two years.

Entering the bulk of conference play, Clark’s 929 career assists rank 10th all-time among Division I women’s players. Suzie McConnell’s record of 1,307 assists is likely out of reach for Clark, but if she continues her season pace of 7.7 assists per game or puts up her career pace (7.9) for the rest of the regular season, she’ll be sixth all-time in assists by the start of the Big Ten Tournament, approaching 1,030 career assists.

At the pace she’s at, Clark would be the first player in women’s college basketball history to rank in the top six alltime in points and assists. She would also be 60 assists away from entering the top five and 63 assists away from entering the top four if she averages her career assists per game mark for the rest of the regular season.

 

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