Caitlin Clark’s chase for history: Kelsey Plum ‘grateful to pass that baton’

Caitlin Clark is on the precipice of surpassing Kelsey Plum for the most points in Division I women’s college basketball history, and the current record holder is more than OK with losing her top spot.

Plum told reporters over the weekend that she’s actually “excited” to see her record go to Clark, who is only 65 points away from tying her career-scoring mark.

“I’m actually very grateful to pass that baton. I’m very happy for her,” Plum said during a video call with reporters while she was at the USA Basketball women’s team camp ahead of participating in the 2024 FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament later this week in Belgium.

Plum surpassed former Missouri State star Jackie Stiles for the most points in women’s college basketball history seven years ago, finishing her college career at Washington a month later with 3,527 points. Even though Plum had several scoring outbursts in February 2017 to break the 16-year-old record, she later shared that she was dealing with depression as she was chasing the record.

As Plum recalled the struggles she dealt with when she broke Stiles’ record, she’s hoping people can celebrate the Iowa star for more than just the record she’s about to achieve.

“I remember, to be honest, [the record] 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.

“If anything, make sure that we show her love outside of her performance. She’ll break it. I’m excited for her.”

Clark added another high-scoring performance on Saturday, putting up 38 points in Iowa’s win over Maryland. It marked the sixth straight game she scored at least 30 points and the fourth straight game that she put up at least 35 points, giving her 3,462 career points. She moved into second place on the all-time scoring list last week.

Caitlin Clark GOES OFF for 38 points in Iowa’s 93-85 victory over Maryland

Caitlin Clark GOES OFF for 38 points in Iowa's 93-85 victory over Maryland

If Clark continues to average her nation-leading 32.4 points per game, she’ll break Plum’s record at some point within Iowa’s next three games. However, her scoring average has been even higher in conference play, putting up 34.2 points per game against Big Ten opponents this season. 

Iowa plays Penn State at home on Thursday, at Nebraska on Sunday (1 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) and Michigan at home on Feb. 15. Nebraska is the only team in that group Iowa has played already this season, with Clark putting up 38 points in a 92-73 win on Jan. 27. 

Clark still has another year of eligibility due to the COVID waiver, which would allow her to further boost her scoring total. She has yet to make any indication of what she plans to do next season. If she opts to declare for the WNBA Draft, she’s expected to be the No. 1 overall pick, like Plum was in 2017. 

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