On the heels of points milestone, Iowa's Caitlin Clark will enter the WNBA Draft


Feb. 29 (UPI) -- On the heels of achieving yet another scoring milestone, University of Iowa Hawkeyes basketball standout Caitlin Clark has declared she will leave college for the professional ranks.

"While this season is far from over and we have a lot more goals to achieve, it will be my last one at Iowa," Clark posted on her X account. "I am excited to be entering the 2024 WNBA Draft. It is impossible for me to fully express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me during my time at Iowa.

"None of this would have been possible without my family and friends who have been by my side through it all," she said. "Because of all of you, my dreams came true."

Clark's announcement comes soon after she set another scoring record by passing Lynette Woodard for the most career points in women's basketball history. Now she needs just 18 to pass Pete Maravich for the overall record for men's or women's hoops.

Clark, who set the NCAA women's mark Feb. 15, totaled 33 points in the Hawkeyes' 108-60 blowout victory over Minnesota on Wednesday in Minneapolis. She entered the night 32 points behind Woodard, who reached her career point total before the NCAA's sponsorship of women's sports.

Clark passed Woodard (3,649) with a 3-pointer with 4:29 remaining Wednesday's. She finished the night with a 33-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound triple-double.

The Iowa phenom now sits at 3,650 career points, just behind the 3,667 Maravich scored from 1967 to 1970 for the LSU Tigers.

Clark, averaging a national-best 32.2 points per game, and the No. 6 Hawkeyes will host the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes in their regular-season finale Sunday in Iowa City.

"Pete's record, it's getting closer and closer," Clark told reporters. "I vividly remember even people in high school coming up to me and talking about Pete and [saying], 'You need to watch him on YouTube.'

"It's super special closing in on that. My first goal is focusing on Ohio State, but it's super special just to be in the same realm as a lot of these really talented players who have done a lot of really great things for not just women's basketball or just men's basketball, but basketball in general."

Clark also set an NCAA women's basketball record for the most 3-pointers in a single season in the Hawkeyes' win over the Gophers. Her 156 are two more than the previous mark (154) set by former Idaho guard Taylor Pierce in 2019.

The Hawkeyes made a Big Ten single-game record 22 3-pointers in Wednesday's win.

Clark totaled eight made 3-pointers. Fifth-year guard Gabbie Marshall scored 16 points and was 4 of 7 from downtown. Sophomore guard Taylor McCabe scored 15 and was 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Redshirt junior guard Kylie Feuerbach chipped in 13 points and was 4 of 8 from 3-point range.

"As a team, we passed the ball really well, and when we do that, we can be dangerous," Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder said.

Clark, an All-American guard, potentially could become the first college basketball player to reach 4,000 points if she leads the Hawkeyes to long runs at the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

The Hawkeyes (25-4) and Buckeyes (25-3) will tip off at 1 p.m. EST Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will air on Fox.