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When it comes to Caitlin Clarke, a new story always seems to be on the horizon. On Wednesday, it was a chance to set the Big Ten all-time scoring record and move up the NCAA all-time scoring list.

Clark, who entered Iowa fourth on the NCAA all-time scoring list with 3,389 career points at Northwestern, needed five points to leapfrog Jackie Stiles (Missouri State). Clark passed that mark Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State) scored her 3,403rd career point before the first quarter ended. That mark also set the Big Ten all-time scoring record.

Clark is chasing Las Vegas guard Kelsey Plum for the women’s all-time scoring record (3,527 points). Pete Maravich, who played at LSU from the 1967-68 to 1969-70 seasons, holds the all-time scoring record in men’s and women’s basketball with 3,667.

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When will Caitlin Clark break the women’s college basketball all-time scoring record?

With a sellout crowd of 7,039 expected for Wednesday’s game, this is the largest crowd Clark has ever played in front of at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Jan. 9, 2021 In Clark’s first game at Northwestern Arena, there were no fans in a 77-67 win over the Durcats due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The second time was on Jan. 28, 2022, in Iowa’s 72-67 overtime win, with only 1,578 in attendance.

During her career at Iowa, Clark became the first Division I women’s basketball player in NCAA history to record a 40-point triple-double, the first player to record 3,000 points, 750 rebounds and 750 assists, and the first player to record more than 30-point games. Any player in the last 25 years.

Clark is averaging a career-high 32 points this season, while adding 7.1 rebounds and 7.6 assists. At Northwestern, Clark scored 35 points and dished out 10 rebounds en route to her 54th career double-double. She missed 9 of 12 3-pointers and finished on 11 of 22 shooting but went 10 for 10 from the line. Clark was pulled with 4:25 left in the game.

No. 3 Iowa defeated Northwestern 110-74 to improve to 20-2 overall and 9-1 in the conference.

A glimpse into Clark’s historic day

Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan had a famous logic: scoring 32 points in a game was easy because he only had eight points per quarter. With little offensive attack — just five shot attempts — Clark surpassed that tally by two points Wednesday.

Clark made 10 deep threes and four free throws in the first quarter, moving her closer to the Big Ten scoring record. She immediately scored on a layup after taking a short break to start the second quarter. And with just 5 minutes left in the first half, she broke the Big Ten scoring record.

But with the focus and build-up to her game Wednesday, there was no reaction at Welsh-Ryan Arena, though it was largely made up of Iowa fans.

Iowa fans began waiting in line for general admission seats at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Three hours before the 7pm CT tipoff, a line stretched across the street to get in. Northwestern only has two rooms with designated seating for women’s games, one of which is the upscale Wilson Club — so it creates a bit of a logjam for the crowd. (The Northwestern women’s team averages 1,671 fans per game.)

When Clarke came to warm up, she was met with a nearly full house and fans were screaming as she was announced with the starters.

Clarke had the feel of a basketball hero for the Hat, but despite scoring 18 points, she didn’t have a particularly memorable first half. She went 4-for-11 from the field, missing 5 of 7 3-point shots. She went 8-for-8 from the line, though people didn’t line up for the better part of the cold day to watch her hit free throws.

Clark did a good job of getting her teammates involved early. Seven Hawkeyes scored in the first half to give them a 47-32 lead. – John Greenberg, Chicago sports columnist

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(Photo: Jim Dedmon / USA Today)