Photo provided by University of Iowa

Editor’s Note (Feb. 28, 2024): Clark passed Lynette Woodard with 3,650 career points and now holds the Division I women’s basketball scoring record.

February 2, 2024 — As Caitlin Clark ascends the all-time women’s basketball scoring charts, she is on the verge of becoming not only the All-Time NCAA scoring leader (to which everyone is pointing), but the All-Time Division I women’s basketball record holder too. 

As of Feb. 2, 2024, Clark has scored 3,424 pts and is approaching the NCAA record of 3,527 set by Kelsey Plum in 2017. Lynette Woodard, who played for the University of Kansas from 1977-81 in the AIAW era scored 3,649 owns the All-Time Division 1 women’s basketball record. (Pearl Moore, a four-time AIAW Small College All-American owns the All-Time Women’s Basketball Scoring Record with 4,061.) 

So, when referencing the records Clark is breaking, Kelsey Plum does NOT hold the “All-Time Scoring Record,” it’s the NCAA Scoring Record. If and when Clark surpasses Woodard’s record of 3,649, she will own the “All-Time Division I Scoring record.” 

Recently, I received pushback after sharing this fact saying “What does it matter? Woodard played in a lesser league.” That is just not true.

Here’s a brief intercollegiate women’s basketball history lesson: In the late 1960s, when there were no intercollegiate sports for women, a group of women leaders approached the NCAA asking for governance and championship structure. The NCAA was not interested, so the women created and built their own organization, the CIAW (Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) which then formed the AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women). The AIAW officially began in the 1971-72 school year and originated women’s intercollegiate competition. 

All colleges joined the AIAW under one umbrella, then in 1974-75, it split into Large College and Small College divisions. (Junior Colleges also split off around that time.)

Pearl Moore was a four-time AIAW Small College All-American for Francis Marion and set the All-Time Scoring record of 4,061 when she wrapped up her career in 1979.

Lynette Woodard, a four-time Kodak All-America at the University of Kansas scored 3,649 points in her career from 1977-81. It has been the All-Time Division I scoring record since but has never been acknowledged by the NCAA.

When the NCAA began offering championships for women in 1981-82, there was a split in the country. Some women’s programs joined the NCAA that year, others stayed in the AIAW. In the 1982-83 season, after the AIAW dissolved, all women’s intercollegiate programs were governed and provided championships by the NCAA.

Unfortunately, the AIAW Champions and record holders were never fully acknowledged by the NCAA. It has recently come to my attention that athletes who played in both the AIAW and NCAA eras do not have their numbers included in the NCAA charts. I’ve also learned that some coaches were able to count their AIAW wins and some were not – still digging into this one.

So, now is a time to right those wrongs – one at a time. When Caitlin Clark surpasses 3,527 points, it should be noted she is now the NCAA Women’s Basketball All-Time Scoring Leader. Then, when she surpasses 3,649, which she is likely to do, she will become the Division 1 (Large College) Women’s Basketball Scoring Leader and Lynette Woodard should be acknowledged for holding that record for 43 years.

Written by Executive Producer Brenda VanLengen

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  1. Thank you Brenda for trying to educate the NCAA as well as everybody else about the history of women’s basketball. It is long overdue, and women need to be recognized for their sacrifices and accomplishments.

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