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CEDAR FALLS — There was no elaborate countdown, no months-long discussion about what this moment would mean. It was that The inevitable Caitlin Clark would eventually own this record.

The Iowa women’s basketball superstar became the program’s all-time leading scorer in Sunday’s 94-53 game against Northern Iowa at the McLeod Center, surpassing Megan Gustafson’s previous mark by 2 804 career points. Clark’s game-high came on a turnover-and-1 bucket midway through the third quarter, part of another incredible triple-double stat line (24 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds).

“It’s special to do this with this group,” Clark said. “Megan contacted me (Saturday) night and basically told me to go for it. I think it just speaks to the culture that coach (Lisa) Bluder has built here. She’s developing really good players, but also people who want to see other people succeed.

“That goes for my teammates, too. I wouldn’t be here without them. They all celebrate it too. I’m just lucky to do it with this group.”

Clark opened this season with 88 points to break Gustafson’s mark. She racked up half that number in Thursday’s lone win over Virginia Tech. The more pertinent question was when, not if, she would occupy the top spot on Sunday.

Bigger marks are now firmly in play. Kelsey Mitchell’s Big Ten mark (3,402 points) is expected to fall next, with a good chance Kelsey Plum’s Division I women’s basketball mark (3,527 points) ) comes after that. Another incredible scoring campaign and Pete Maravich’s Division I record (3,667 points) could fall later in the season.

“It’s so rewarding because Caitlin chose to come to the University of Iowa when she could have gone anywhere in the country,” Bluder said. “I’m so proud that she took a chance with us, even though it wasn’t a huge chance after an Elite Eight (in 2019). But she still did it. It’s pretty gratifying to training kids like these.”

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Gabbie Marshall: “I told myself to keep shooting.”

Gabbie Marshall started the year going 0-for-9 from deep before exploding for five triples in Iowa’s blowout win over UNI.

Clark’s performance wasn’t Iowa’s only notable development. After an 0-of-9 start to the season from fifth-year sharpshooter Gabbie Marshall erupted for 17 points on a game-high five triples. Clark repeatedly found her veteran teammate open in the corner and on the wing, reinforcing the confidence Marshall has earned as a reliable weapon.

“I told myself to keep shooting,” Marshall said. “In shootaround, my shot felt pretty good. So I said to myself, ‘I’m going to be hot tonight.’ And I kept telling myself, and you need this. You need this positive self-talk.

Inside, Hannah Stuelke delivered another efficient afternoon with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting. A massive rebounding advantage allowed Iowa to thrive from all angles while stifling UNI defensively. Reserve Addison O’Grady returned to action after not playing Thursday as well.

This was a game that could have been tricky if Iowa hadn’t been locked in. The Hawkeyes have already seen the two ranked teams ahead of them lose – No. 1 LSU last Monday and No. 2 Connecticut on Sunday – and Iowa could have been in danger of joining that list with a poor performance. Instead, the Hawkeyes will likely move to No. 1 when the polls are released Monday.

Clark is the main reason Iowa is now operating in this elite orbit. She should stay atop the Hawkeyes record books for a while.

“Caitlin Clark is the best player in the country. There are no ifs and buts about it,” UNI coach Tanya Warren said. “…She’s the best one to ever wear, and I don’t know if we’ll all see another one like her in my lifetime.”

Dargan Southard is a sports trends reporter covering Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.

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