As Iowa's Caitlin Clark inches ever closer to an NCAA scoring record, Kelsey Plum — whose record Clark is chasing — offered words of warning to the basketball superstar.
Clark is chasing the all-time Division I women's basketball scoring record, which Plum currently holds with 3,527 career points. Plum is the current Las Vegas Aces superstar, former Washington Huskies legend and first overall pick of the 2017 WNBA Draft.
After scoring 24 points in Iowa's most recent win, against Bowling Green, Clark currently has 2,978 career points. That's 549 points short of Plum's record — and 689 points short of Pete Maravich's record for most Division 1 basketball points scored regardless of gender.
Considering that Clark is currently averaging 29 points per game on the 2023-24 season, that puts her on pace to catch Plum's record by the end of February (given she remains healthy). If Iowa keeps its current winning form, it'll most likely make another run deep into the postseason — affording Clark ample opportunity to beat both Plum's and perhaps even Maravich's scoring records.
Plum seems more than OK with Clark breaking her record. While talking with The Associated Press about Clark's scoring chase, Plum said, "I understand the importance of it, but let's just say when she breaks it, I'll be very, very happy."
Yet Plum also knows from experience what chasing scoring records can do to one's performance — and to others' expectations. "I feel like people started caring less about the game and more about just the individual points," Plum said about her own record-chasing season at Washington. "You can play really well and score 15, 20 points and have a great game and people will be like, 'Aw, it was only a 20-point game.'"
Plum continued, "It was tough for me because I felt like I lost a little bit of my identity and it ultimately led to a tough transition into the (WNBA) because the expectations were so high. So, if anything, I'd try to send her as much compassion and love as I can and I hope the people around her are checking in with her ... because it's going to be tough to feel like you're just playing basketball."
Since Clark is entering rarefied, record-breaking territory, it's great to see someone who has been in similar shoes offering their wisdom.
Hopefully, Plum is right and the people around Clark are reminding her to keep everything in perspective. Which is not to say that Clark shouldn't chase the record with everything she's got this season. She should, if only to help her Iowa team win games.
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