Caitlin Clark eclipses own career record with 49 points on night of breaking all-time scoring mark

IOWA CITY, Iowa — One by one, photos shared by fans on social media appeared on the video board at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. In one, a group of young girls smiled broadly in iconic black T-shirts a little too big.

"Are you serious, Clark," they read in a nod to the National Lampoon's movies that the Iowa social team has used previously for Clark's incredible shots and passes. It once again explained the night perfectly.

When it comes to basketball, Clark is always serious. She came out on a mission, hitting her first three shot attempts to break the NCAA Division I women's all-time scoring record. It was the eight points she needed and she took it out within three minutes of game action.

Everything else was extra, and she added plenty in a 106-89 victory over Michigan. Not only did she set the all-time mark, she set the Iowa program record for single-game scoring. Her 49 points broke the mark of 48 set by Megan Gustafson, a former National Player of the Year winner currently in the WNBA.

It broke her previous high of 46 set in the 2022 conference game against Michigan. She's scored 45 multiple times, including in an overtime game against Ohio State last month. The record fell one week after Hannah Stuelke neared the mark with 47 points, largely fed by Clark's 15 assists.

Everything was working for Clark on Thursday and the sold-out crowd that has been there all season knew it. Her nine 3-pointers tied a career-best and she did it on 18 attempts. She was 16-of-31 overall and made all eight free throws. Her 13 assists were the second-most on the season behind that game against Penn State last week. And she added five rebounds.

The cheers for her record-breaking 3 in the final minutes were nearly that of the cheers for her transition 3 that broke the all-time mark minutes into the game. When she was announced after the buzzer for the greatest performance in Iowa history, the standing crowd held phones and roared in advance of a post-game celebration.

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said on Wednesday that Clark would blast the necessary points out of the water, and she did. She had 23 points in the first quarter alone as Iowa took a 33-22 lead. She cooled off considerably with only five in the second quarter as everyone settled into the game. She added 10 in the third and 11 in the fourth.

Iowa is still in a three-way battle for the regular season Big Ten title with Ohio State and Indiana. The standings determine seeding for the Big Ten tournament, and all go into seeding for the NCAA tournament. The committee released the first reveal for the top 16 teams earlier on Thursday.