February 16, 2024

Setting the record straight on Caitlin Clark.

If you haven’t yet watched Caitlin Clark, it’s living legend stuff. She just broke the all time women’s college scoring record tonight on a near-halfcourt shot. Just wow: 

Caitlin Clark pulls up from way downtown to become the all time NCAA Women’s Basketball leading scorer!
byu/BCLetsRide69 insports

“I grew up in Hawkeye country. For years all you would hear about was the men.

Now you can see a men’s game for $30, but some people have paid $3000 to go to a women’s game. It’s a fun shift.” ~ a comment

Then she set her own personal one-game scoring record, with 49 points on 70% true shooting.

Still, some choose jealousy or belittling in the face of such wonderfully amazing achievement.

So, this, by Jack Sodak, is worth a read:

From FB:

“Up until now, I’ve kept my posts about Caitlin Clark and women’s basketball positive, because I think it’s pretty amazing to watch history unfold before our eyes, and to appreciate the generational talent before us. But with as much negative energy and misinformation being floated out there, it is time to clarify a few things, backed up with facts.

In recent weeks, LSU’s coach Kim Mulkey asserted (without mentioning her name) that Clark shoots 40 shots per game. Over the weekend, WNBA veteran Sheryl Swoopes repeated this assertion, stating “Caitlin Clark right now probably takes 40 shots per game.”

The fact is Caitlin Clark averages 19.7 shots per game for her career and 22.3 shots per game this season. By comparison, Sheryl Swoopes averaged 19.5 shots per game during her 4-year collegiate career. In his NBA career, Kobe Bryant averaged 19.5 shots per game. So this idea that Caitlin Clark takes 40 shots per game is false.

During the same interview, along with claiming Clark is 25 years old (she’s not, she’s 22 years old), Sheryl Swoopes said the following:

“If you’re going to break a record, to me, if it’s legitimate, you have to break that record in the same amount of time that that player set it. Right. So, if Kelsey Plum set that record in four years, well, Caitlin should have broken that record in four years. But because there’s a COVID year, and then there’s another year, you know what I mean? She’s already had an extra year to break that record. So is it truly a broken record?”

The fact is Caitlin Clark is a 4th-year senior. She is not a 5th-year senior and is not currently in her “Covid year” of eligibility. Kelsey Plum scored 3,527 points in 139 games (during a 4-year career). As of right now, Caitlin Clark has scored 3,462 points in 123 games, and will most likely break the record in the next 2-3 games, reaching the scoring record in fewer games than Plum did. So, the idea that Clark’s record is “illegitimate,” by Swoopes’ own standards, is false.

Many of Clark’s detractors claim she is a “ball hog.” I’m not really sure how you can be a ball hog when you are the Big Ten’s all-time leader in career assists (980) and have the 8th most career assists in NCAA history. She led the NCAA last season with 8.6 assists per game, and is currently 2nd in the NCAA this season with 7.9 assists per game.

Additionally, I have heard several Clark detractors claim that she only achieves high-scoring performances by racking up points against “no-name” schools. Of the 11 times Clark has scored 40 points or more in her career, 8 of those have been against ranked teams, 2 more against good Big Ten teams with winning records. I’ve compiled the list below:

45 points against #18 Ohio State (L)

40 points against Michigan State (W)

44 points against #8 Virginia Tech (W)

41 points against #1 South Carolina (W)

41 points against #5 Louisville (W)

45 points against #12 North Carolina State (L)

42 points against #8 Maryland (W)

41 points against Nebraska (W)

46 points against #6 Michigan (L)

43 points against #23 Ohio State (L)

44 points against Evansville (W)

Caitlin Clark is a transformational player who is playing her sport in such a way that no other athlete in her sport has played before (the logo 3’s, the assists, the open passing lanes, etc.). In so doing, she is growing the game to people who previously didn’t watch women’s basketball – men and women alike – and is inspiring a whole generation of young girls to want to play sports in front of full arenas, the way young boys have been inspired by the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Babe Ruth, and Henry Aaron. As with any athlete who puts themselves in the arena, people are free to critique her style of play. But before you do, get your facts right. As for me, I choose to appreciate the history that is being made before our eyes.”

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