Wednesday February 21st, 2024 4:18AM

Caitlin Clark needs 39 points to set NCAA women's scoring record

By Eric Olson AP Sports Writer

LINCOLN, Neb. — If Caitlin Clark is going to become the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women's basketball history on Sunday, she will have to post one of her highest point totals of the season in No. 2 Iowa's game at Nebraska.

The Hawkeyes' superstar has 3,489 points and needs 39 to pass Kelsey Plum's total of 3,527 for Washington from 2013-17.

Clark, who scored 27 in a 111-93 win over Penn State in Iowa's last game, is averaging 32.2 points . She is on pace to set the record Thursday at home against Michigan — if she doesn't do it Sunday when the game is nationally broadcast at 1 p.m. EST on Fox.

She has scored 40 or more points in three games this season and has played some of the best games of her career against Nebraska, going off for 41 in the 2022 Big Ten Tournament, 39 in Lincoln in 2021 and 38 in a 92-73 win in Iowa City two weeks ago.

The game at Pinnacle Bank Arena has been sold out since the first week of January, and sellers on the secondary ticket market late in the week were asking as much as $2,000 for a seat in the lower bowl.

“I love Pinnacle Bank. They always have a great crowd. That’s what fires a competitor up for a game," Clark said in a preseason interview with The Associated Press. “I have a bunch of family from Nebraska, and they’re all there and that motivates me more. It’s the only time they get to watch me."

Clark, who is from West Des Moines, Iowa, has never scored fewer than 30 points in eight games against Nebraska, all wins. Her 34.8 points per game against the Cornhuskers is her highest average against opponents she's faced more than four times.

In three visits to Lincoln, Clark has averaged 33.3 points, shot 52.4% (33 of 63) overall and 42.3% (11 of 26) on 3-pointers.

“You just like certain arenas; you have good history of shooting there, you have good history of winning there,” she said. “It’s just always good vibes when we go to Lincoln.”

If Clark breaks the NCAA record Sunday, her next target will be the all-time major women's college scoring record of 3,649 by Kansas' Lynette Woodard from 1977-81. During Woodard's era, women's sports were governed by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.

Clark has been the face of college hoops this season, with a flashy offensive game highlighted by breathtaking 3-point shots sometimes launched from the edge of the halfcourt logo. The Nebraska game is Iowa's fourth on network TV this season.

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