EVANSTON, Ill. — Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark added to her growing collection of milestones Wednesday night at Northwestern, moving into second place on the NCAA women’s all-time scoring list during her team’s 110-74 win.
Clark, the Naismith women’s college player of the year for the 2022-23 season, passed former Ohio State star Kelsey Mitchell (3,402) on a layup with 4:58 left in the second quarter. She entered Wednesday’s game fourth on the career scoring list — four points behind Missouri State’s Jackie Stiles and 13 behind Mitchell. Clark’s second 3-pointer of the first quarter pushed her past Stiles.
Clark, who also overtook Mitchell as the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer, finished with 35 points for her fifth straight 30-point game, matching the longest streak of her career. Now at 3,424 career points, Clark will set her sights on the NCAA’s all-time scoring record of 3,527, held by Washington’s Kelsey Plum.
“The coolest thing is just the names I get to be around,” Clark said. “Those are people I grew up watching, especially Brittney Griner, Kelsey Mitchell, those are really, really good players, people that are still playing our game at the very highest level, people that you watch night in and night out.
“Just special for me to be in the same area as them.”
Clark also had 10 assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block. She finished just 3 of 12 from 3-point range but made all 10 of her free throws in 32 minutes.
“With this many games to go, overtaking somebody the caliber of Kelsey Mitchell, is outstanding,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “Really proud of her, but also her 10 assists tonight, great job.”
Bluder added: “She had a pass tonight that was just ridiculous, to Hannah [Stuelke] at the end of the shot clock. It was crazy. I love watching it.”
Clark, a senior from West Des Moines, Iowa, has reached a series of milestones, becoming Iowa’s all-time leader in points, assists and 3-pointers made. She needs 18 field goals to set the Big Ten record held by Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender.
Clark is averaging 32.1 points per game, putting her on pace to break Plum’s scoring record on Feb. 15 against Michigan.
Although Clark lamented her shooting struggles from the perimeter Wednesday, she repeatedly attacked the basket and was even left alone for an open layup in the fourth quarter.
“She’s a great player,” Northwestern forward Paige Mott said. “I feel like we guarded her really well on the 3-point line, but then we just completely forgot that she could drive, she can make layups. There’s other stuff that she can do. When you take away one of the heads, another head comes up.”
Clark finished January with 275 points and became the fifth player during the past 25 seasons to score 250 or more points twice in a month, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. She had 304 points in January 2021.
Clark and Iowa, the 2023 national runner-up, played before the first sellout crowd of 7,039 for a women’s basketball game at Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena. She and the Hawkeyes have drawn record crowds at road and neutral venues all season.
Several fans told ESPN that they showed up more than five hours before tip-off to line up to enter the arena, which includes mostly general admission seating. Clark, surrounded by Iowa and Northwestern police officers and a throng of photographers, signed autographs in the visitors’ tunnel as she exited the court.
“Being 22 years old, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around,” Clark said. “It’s something that, once I’m done playing basketball and my career’s over, you’ll look back and be like, ‘Wow, those are some of the best memories of my life, getting to play in these environments with my best friends.'”