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Caitlin Clark Breaks NCAA Scoring Record With Career-High 49 Points

There’s a certain allure to watching Iowa women’s basketball star Caitlin Clark. Her shooting range, playmaking ability and flair for the dramatic have record crowds following her wherever she goes.

Her latest act: breaking the NCAA women’s basketball all-time scoring record. Clark, who entered Iowa’s Thursday game against Michigan eight points shy of former Washington star Kelsey Plum’s mark of 3,527 points, took just over two minutes to set the record.

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The Iowa phenom did it with characteristic flair, swishing a 3-point bomb from near the Hawkeyes’ midcourt logo just 2 minutes and 12 seconds into the first quarter, following up on another trey and a driving layup to open the game.

She finished with a career-high 49 points, along with 13 assists, in the No. 4 Hawkeyes’ 106-89 victory over the Wolverines.

Clark has numerous NIL deals, has appeared in various commercials and has capitalized on the business opportunities created by her collegiate stardom. Ticket revenue and game viewership for Iowa women’s basketball has skyrocketed, as has sports betting interest as she nears the record.

Thursday’s game in Iowa City follows the Iowa-Nebraska game on Super Bowl Sunday, the most-viewed women’s basketball game on Fox.

“It has been a privilege for the entire Hawkeye community to share this journey with Caitlin,” Iowa Athletic Director Beth Goetz wrote in an email ahead of the game. “She has achieved success not only as a generational talent, but with an unwavering commitment to the success of her team, the growth of women’s basketball and as inspiring role model to so many young people. We are incredibly proud that Caitlin is such a tremendous ambassador for the University of Iowa.”

Vivid Seats saw a 68% jump in the overnight listed ticket price for the Michigan game.

Vivid Seats also has the average sold price for the game as $270 as of Thursday afternoon. It is now the third hottest Iowa women’s basketball ticket since 2019.

On StubHub, two tickets in Section N of Carver-Hawkeye arena were listed for nearly $6,000. This game was the best-selling women’s basketball ticket ever on StubHub, the company said.

“Caitlin Clark’s impact on women’s college basketball is undeniable,” StubHub spokesperson Adam Budelli said. “The Hawkeyes are the best-selling women’s college basketball team, outselling the No. 2 LSU Tigers by more than 3x.”

Iowa sold $767,069 in women’s basketball tickets during the 2021-22 season, the eighth most among all public schools, according to Sportico’s college finances database. That number nearly doubled to $1.4 million last season.

In 2022-2023 Iowa women’s basketball generated over $3.8 million in total revenue.

As Clark approached Plum’s record, networks grew creative in how they’ve showcased her. They’ve experimented with various camera angles. Fox even debuted a camera on TikTok dedicated to every movement Clark makes.

Peacock displayed an alternate feed dubbed the “Caitlin Cast” sponsored by State Farm during the game. State Farm also sponsored the countdown graphic during Iowa-Nebraska that tracked how close Clark was to the record.

Three of Iowa’s last five games have been on Peacock. For Iowa’s game against Ohio State on Peacock, a news release said viewership peaked at 3.9 million viewers for the overtime thriller.

Clark’s business impact has extended into the sports betting realm. DraftKings is offering various propbets on the game, according to DraftKings’ director of race and sports operations Johnny Avello.

“She averages about 32 points per game. She’s at home tonight. We have her over/under at 34.5,” Avello said. “She in the past has lit up this Michigan team pretty good, so we’re thinking she’ll play a lot of minutes tonight.”

Another Clark-specific prop bet on DraftKings was how the record-breaking point will be scored. Avello said a 3-point shot is the favorite. And that turned out to be a winning bet.

Avello has noticed the impact Clark has on various areas of the sports industry. “TV ratings for women’s basketball have been up,” he said. “Betting interest has been up. I think they’ve sold out three times in the history of the program, and now they’ve sold out the whole season because of the impact she makes on the team.”

After the Big Ten Tournament and March Madness, Clark, a senior, has a decision to make. She can enter the WNBA, where she’ll almost definitely be the No. 1 pick in April, or return to college for an extra year of eligibility granted to players by the NCAA due to the COVID pandemic.

The fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena made it clear where they stand. Following the game, they chanted, “One more year!”

(This article has been updated with details on the record and results from the game.)

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