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Iowa's Caitlin Clark captures the NCAA's women's all-time points record

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Iowa senior Caitlin Clark set the NCAA's all-time scoring record in women's basketball last night in a home game against Michigan. Greg Echlin recaps the historic moment from Iowa City.

GREG ECHLIN, BYLINE: All of the Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball games are sold out this season, but the school band's percussion section had never played outside the arena before tipoff until this night.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ECHLIN: The crowd filing inside was already pumped up. It was inevitable the all-time scoring mark would fall on this night. After all, Caitlin Clark had scored at least 26 points in every previous Big Ten Conference game this season. It brought out fans like Abbie Volz, who had never been to a Hawkeye home game before. While standing in line for ice cream cones - well known around here as the Carver Cones - at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Volz says she paid $250 per ticket for her family of four.

ABBIE VOLZ: I compared it to - at least in Iowa, it's equivalent to watching Michael Jordan in the '80s, you know what I mean? It's something I thought would be fun for our family to experience.

ECHLIN: Clark needed only eight points to break the record and wasted no time. She scored Iowa's first eight points just two minutes, 12 seconds into the game.

CAITLIN CLARK: That was never really my goal, to get it done really fast, but, made my first couple shots, so was able to get another one up pretty fast, and it was nice to get it done there fairly quick.

ECHLIN: Caitlin Clark scored a career-high 49 points in the Hawkeyes 106-to-89 win against the Michigan Wolverines. Clark has scored 3,569 points in her collegiate career. The record breaker was a three-pointer that has become commonly known at Iowa as a logo three. It was 35 feet away from the basket.

(CHEERING)

ECHLIN: The record was previously held by Kelsey Plum, who played at the University of Washington from 2013 to 2017. Martha Kelly, a teacher and coach at Buffalo Grove High School outside Chicago, paid $700 for her ticket and toted a camera to capture the moment. She says the drive to Iowa City was worth it.

MARTHA KELLY: This is like my Disney World, you know? So it was well worth it. I got a good shot of it, and I got a good video, and I'll remember this forever.

ECHLIN: The next scoring milestone is the women's basketball record held by Lynette Woodard, who played college ball at the University of Kansas. She scored 80 points more than Clark's current total. She played at KU before the NCAA conducted its own women's championships. The NCAA doesn't recognize Woodard's record because she played under a different governing body. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder thinks the NCAA should recognize Woodard's record and would like to see Clark also surpass that.

LISA BLUDER: We played basketball before the NCAA, and so I don't know why we have this - you know, NCAA records, but I think that makes really good sense.

ECHLIN: Debbie Antonelli, a commentator for ESPN and CBS, made the trip on her own as a fan to see Clark break the record. She says Clark's generational talents will resonate for years to come.

DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Every little girl that's wearing a Caitlin Clark shirt or handling a poster or has come here with her mom and dad is probably dribbling a basketball in their driveway as well, trying to emulate Caitlin. And isn't that absolutely wonderful?

ECHLIN: The all-time scoring leader for both the men and women is held by former LSU star Pete Maravich. Clark is less than 100 points from breaking that record.

For NPR News, I'm Greg Echlin in Iowa City.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DEMIGOD")

CHIKA: (Rapping) I was a legend before I was famous. Everyone saw it back when I was nameless. Ain't even ask, you could say that I'm blameless. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Greg Echlin
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