All eyes will be on Caitlin Clark this week as she try to break the NCAA women’s basketball scoring record.
Iowa’s star guard needs 66 points to break the record of 3,527 held by Kelsey Plum. The No. 2 Hawkeyes play at home on Thursday against Penn State before visiting Nebraska on Sunday. Clark is averaging 32.4 points per game this season but has surpassed that in her last five games, putting up more than 37 a contest.
Whenever Clark breaks the mark, Plum said she’ll be happy for her.
“I’m actually very grateful to pass that baton. I’m very happy for her,” Plum said at a USA Basketball camp in New York during the weekend.
Plum, who played collegiately at Washington, recalls chasing the NCAA scoring mark that was held by Missouri State’s Jackie Stiles.
“I remember it was very much a low point in my life,” Plum said. “It felt like a lot of pressure, and my identity was kind of caught up in that record. I hope everyone in the media takes time to understand that (Clark) is not just a basketball player but a young woman that has feelings and emotions. She carries it with grace, but there’s a lot to handle there.”
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Plum hoped that people are checking on Clark’s mental health.
“That’s someone you know who has good days and bad days, too,” Plum said. “Make sure she’s checked in on and see how she’s doing. That’s to me what I care about most and I wish I had someone that stood up and cared about that when I was going through it.”
Clark also is approaching 1,000 assists in her career. She has 980 and sits in eighth place all-time.
Louisville and No. 3 North Carolina State tipped off busy weeks Monday night with a win by the Wolfpack. The 15th-ranked Cardinals host No. 12 Notre Dame on Thursday before traveling to face No. 23 Syracuse on Sunday.
N.C. State hosts No. 16 Virginia Tech on Thursday.
“This was a stretch here where you have an opportunity to make a statement,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. “This stretch is kind of like what you would see in an NCAA Tournament, trying to go to a Final Four. You’re going to have to go through at least three really, really good teams to get there.”
There are five Atlantic Coast Conference teams ranked this week, with North Carolina right outside the AP Top 25.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma is one victory away from joining Tara VanDerveer (1,206) and Mike Krzyzewski (1,202) as the only Division I coaches with 1,200 victories. Auriemma’s first chance to reach that milestone is Wednesday when the Huskies host Seton Hall.
Player of the Week
The 6-foot-2 freshman wing from Los Angeles scored 51 of her team’s 67 points in an upset victory over then-No. 4 Stanford. She added 11 rebounds and four steals in that game. Her point total was the highest by a freshman since Elena Delle Donne had 54 in 2010 for Delaware. Watkins followed up her historic night with a 29-point effort in a win over Cal. It’s the second time that Watkins has been honored as the AP Player of the Week.
Caitlin Clark, Iowa. The senior guard moved into second on the NCAA all-time scoring list and now only needs 66 points to pass Kelsey Plum. Clark averaged 36.5 points in wins over Northwestern and Maryland. She also had a season-high 12 assists in the victory over the Terrapins.
Aaliyah Edwards (UConn), Taiyanna Jackson (Kansas), Jewel Spear (Tennessee).
Katie Dinnebier, Drake. Had the second triple-double in school history with a 19-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist effort against Northern Iowa. She leads the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring at 19.1 points and assists at 6.3. Her triple-double was the 14th in conference history.