Caitlin Clark is helping increase interest in women's basketball (Credit: ncaa.org/ CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Interest in women's college basketball has been rising steadily in the past few years. A large part of the sport's increasing popularity is attributed to Caitlin Clark. The 22-year-old point guard for the Iowa Hawkeyes is credited with bringing mainstream attention to a sport historically overshadowed by its men's counterpart.

According to the NCAA, "The Caitlin Clark Effect" helped set a new total attendance record of 8,784,401 for Division I women's basketball during the 2022-23 season. This number surpassed the previous record by over 150,000. The 2023 NCAA Championship game between Louisiana State (LSU) and Iowa attracted 10 million viewers, or about twice the number of people who watched the 2022 Championships.

The 2023-24 season has been particularly thrilling for Clark's fans. On February 15, 2024, the University of Iowa senior scored the 3,528th point of her career in a game against Michigan, setting a new record for the most points in women's NCAA history. Kelsey Plum, who played for the University of Washington from 2013-17, previously held the title with 3,527 points. Almost two week later, on February 28, 2024, Clark shattered the all-time women's record of 3,649 points. It was set by Lynette Woodard in 1981, just before the NCAA era.

Clark has broken several records in 2024 (Credit: John Mac/ CC-BY-SA-2.0/ Flickr

On March 3, 2024, Clark made further history by surpassing Pete Maravich's record of 3,667 points for the most career points in Division 1 history for men and women. Maravich had held the title since 1970!

The NCAA Women's Tournament, which began on March 20, 2024, have helped extend Clark's lead even further. On March 23, 2024, the basketball phenom added 27 more points to her record in a resounding 91-65 win against Holy Cross. Clark currently boasts 3,798 points and a 28.3 scoring average across her four-year collegiate basketball career.

"Just to be in the same realm of all these players who have been so successful, whether it's Pete or Kelsey Plum or Lynette Woodard ‚ÄĒ all these people have just given so much to the game," Clark said. "Hopefully, somebody comes after me and breaks my records, and I can be there supporting them."

Clark plans to join the WNBA this year (Credit: Timweight/ CC-BY-SA-2.0/ Wikimedia Commons)

And if that is not impressive enough, on March 8, 2024, Clark broke the NCAA Division I record for 3-pointers (163) in a season by a man or woman. The title was previously held by Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. He set it during the 2007-08 season while playing for the Davidson College Wildcats.

Clark is also the first Division 1 player to top 1,000 assists and 800 rebounds. She has 59 career games with at least 25 points, five assists, and five rebounds ‚ÄĒ another NCAA record!

This year will be the 22-year-old's final season of college basketball. She has decided to join the WNBA and is expected to be the top pick at the April 15, 2024 draft. But before that, Clark has one final goal to wrap up her exceptional collegiate basketball career. She wants to help the Iowa Hawkeyes women's team win their first-ever NCAA championship!

Resources: ESPN.com, cbssports.com, ncaa.org, Wikipedia.org