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Clark justifies the hype with record performance vs. Gophers

At the hottest place to be on a cold February night, a sellout crowd packed Williams Arena to see Caitlin Clark do, basically, what she does.

Break records.

With a three-pointer from just left of the top of the key, with 4 minutes and 29 seconds left in Iowa's 108-60 victory over the Gophers, Clark became the leading scorer in the history of Division I women's basketball, passing Lynette Woodard (3,649), who played at Kansas until 1981.

A lot of people witnessed it live.

Thousands of Hawkeyes fans were among the 14,625 who came to the game.

Fans waited in the cold to be let in. Many – mainly young girls wearing Hawkeye colors and carrying signs — lined up to wait for Clark to emerge from the basement and ascend the steps to The Barn's elevated floor for the pre-game warm-up.

One fan sported a black, long-sleeved t-shirt emblazoned with: "If you break it, you own it.''

Yes, there was a game played.

But the night was owned by Clark.. If there is one thing her tour through the conference this season has shown, it's this: If you break it, they'll come.

Iowa improved to 25-4 overall, 14-3 in the Big Ten. Clark scored 33 points with 10 rebounds and 12 assists. That gave her 3,650 career points. Clark had already passed Kelsey Plum for the NCAA women's scoring mark. Wednesday she passed Woodard (3,649), who played at Kansas before the NCAA sanctioned women's basketball. Woodard played when the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women governed the game.

Clark pulled within two points of Woodard when she rebounded a Gophers miss, then scored in transition in the final minute of the third quarter.

For a while it appeared Clark – who started to favor the pass over the shot – would wait to pass Woodard in Iowa's home game Sunday against Ohio State.

But that three-pointer changed that.

The game held no real drama. Iowa led by 14 after a quarter, then started the second quarter 16-0.

The suspense came as Clark approached yet another milestone.

Next: Pete Maravich's record for NCAA scoring (3,667), which he set at LSU. Clark ended the game 17 shy of that mark.

Here's how the game started: Iowa won the tip and Clark hit a three from the top of the key. Then Clark rebounded a Gophers miss, went the length of the floor, scored and made the free throw. Moments later she hit a three from just inside the mid-court logo, then she hit a three in transition.

Time out, and the game wasn't yet 3 minutes old. (7:09).

By the time the first quarter ended the Hawkeyes had a 30-16 lead and Clark had either scored or assisted in 21 of those 30 points.

Then the second quarter started with two Clark threes and her assist on three. After a 16-0 start to the quarter, Iowa led by 30.

Then it was just a matter of if – or, perhaps better when – Woodard's record would fall.

Clark was one of five Iowa players in double figures. The Hawkeyes shot better than 61 percent and made 22 of 39 three-point attempts.

The Gophers (15-13, 5-12) got 18 points from Amaya Battle, 17 from Janay Sanders and 12 from Grace Grocholski.