Iowa star Caitlin Clark surpasses Lynette Woodard's Division I scoring record

Less than two weeks after becoming the all-time NCAA women’s basketball scoring leader, Caitlin Clark officially surpassed Lynette Woodard’s 3,649 career points for the overall Division I crown. Clark’s historic moment occurred in Wednesday’s 108-60 win over Minnesota, when she drained a three-pointer with under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Woodard played for the University of Kansas from 1977 until 1981, however, she is not listed in the NCAA record books because when she played for the Jayhawks the NCAA did not officially recognize women’s sports. Instead, women’s basketball was governed by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.

After Clark snapped Kelsey Plum’s NCAA record on Feb. 15, Woodard released a statement congratulating Clark on her “sensational career,” and said she looked forward to seeing her “score many more points for years to come.”

This has also been a time in which Woodard thinks is important to recognize the women whose achievements are not talked about today because of technicalities.

“Well, it’s not so much what I want the people to know; I want the NCAA governing body to know that they should respect the players, they should respect the history, include us and our accomplishments,” Woodard said during the ESPN broadcast of Kansas vs. Kansas State on Monday. “This is the era of diversity, equity and inclusion. They should include us. We deserve it.”

Woodard was also asked what she would want to say to Clark once she officially snapped her record, and the Kansas legend was gracious about it.

“Hey, congratulations,” Woodard said. “Welcome to the party.”

In addition to setting the Division I women’s scoring record, Woodard went on to compete in two Olympics and won a gold medal with Team USA in the 1984 Los Angeles Games. As if that wasn’t enough, she made history by becoming the Harlem Globetrotters’ first female member in 1985. The WNBA did not exist at that time, but the inaugural season was in 1997, and Woodard got to be a part of it when she signed with the Cleveland Rockers at 37. 

In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, President of Legends of the Ball Elizabeth Galloway-Mcquitter also expressed her desire to congratulate Clark while also wanting to make sure players like Woodard get the fair recognition they earned.

“You can’t truly gauge how far the game has come until you know those seminal moments,” Galloway-Mcquitter said. “The names and faces, the events that helped get us where we are. That’s why history matters. We need to think about the ones who first opened the doors and kept them open.

“Records are meant to be broken. But Lynette should have been given the opportunity to pass that baton to Caitlin. It’s her baton to pass.”

Even more impressive is the fact that Woodard’s unofficial record falls short of the 4,061 points scored by Pearl Moore in the late 1970s at Francis Marion College, which is a Division II school. This only goes to show women’s basketball has had some incredible hoopers for a long time.

Woodard’s achievements, as well as Moore’s and many other women’s stories, had been forgotten. The buzz around Clark helped bring attention to them again, and Woodard was delighted to see it happen.

As for Clark, her record-chasing journey is not over quite yet. She now has 3,650 career points and she could potentially set the new NCAA’s overall scoring record held by LSU legend Pete Maravich with 18 points on Sunday against Ohio State.

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