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Women's AP Top 25 Round-Up: Caitlin Clark, Fairfield Make History

Women's AP Top 25 Round-Up: Caitlin Clark, Fairfield Make History

Caitlin Clark became women's baskketball's all-time leading scorer, and Iowa returned to No. 3 in the penultimate AP Poll before Selection Sunday.

Mar 5, 2024 by Kyle Kensing
Women's AP Top 25 Round-Up: Caitlin Clark, Fairfield Make History

Let the record show that on Feb. 28, 2024, Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark surpassed what Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder correctly labeled "the real record" in women's college basketball history. 

On a night Clark recorded a 33-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound triple-double, she broke the career scoring mark of 3,649 that Lynette Woodard held for 43 years.

 Bluder's comment following Iowa's rout of Big Ten Conference counterpart Minnesota took to task the NCAA for not recognizing the records set before the governing body sponsored women's basketball. Woodard was a, and perhaps the, preeminent star of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women era of college basketball. 

Competition in the AIAW was every bit as legitimate as after the move to the NCAA, and the organization played host to some of the most revolutionary figures in the development of the sport. Former Kansas Jayhawks star and Olympic Gold medalist Woodard is at the forefront of that,  along with such teams as Immaculata. When Swin Cash was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame at the 2022 Men's Final Four, she was alongside representatives of the dominant Immaculata Mighty Macs from the 1970s. 

Athletes like the Mighty Macs and Woodard were hardwood pioneers in the years immediately following Title IX. They laid the foundation for the stars who followed, from Cheryl Miller to Lisa Leslie; Sheryl Swoopes and Rebecca Lobo; Sabrina Ionescu and the former NCAA scoring record holder Kelsey Plum; and now, Caitlin Clark. 

"I wouldn't have the opportunity to be able to do what I'm doing every single night if it wasn't for people like her," Clark said in the postgame press conference following the win over Minnesota. "I'm just really thankful and grateful to have those[who] have come before me."

Now the all-time leading scorer in women's college basketball history, Clark trails only legendary Pete Maravich for the undisputed scoring title in all of college hoops. She moved 35 points closer to Maravich's 3,667 in the Hawkeyes' 93-83 win over Ohio State on March 3. 

In avenging an earlier Big Ten loss, Iowa jumped three spots to No. 3 in the March 4 Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The Hawkeyes trail only Stanford, which climbed two spots from No. 4 following a regular-season finale sweep of Oregon State and Oregon; and near-season-long No. 1 South Carolina. 

From the undefeated Gamecocks at the top of the poll, to the last spot in the March 4 rankings, No. 25 in the Top 25 is a landmark entry. That place belongs to Fairfield, which at 26-1 broke into the rankings for the first time ever. 

Meghan Andersen has had one of the best freshman seasons in all of college basketball, leading the Stags in scoring at 16.2 points per game; rebounding with 5.5 per game; and blocked shots with 1.4 per game. 

Andersen appears on the USBWA National Player of the Year watchlist — and while Clark's likely headed to that honor, with USC's JuJu Watkins a seeming slam dunk for National Freshman of the Year, Andersen's 2023-24 has truly been one for the ages. 

Fairfield closes out the regular season looking to extend its winning streak to 26 games before embarking on the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship. Other leagues begin their conference tournaments this week, however, including an intriguing BIG EAST Championship. 

The tournament tips off at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on March 8, headlined by nationally ranked UConn (No. 9) and Creighton (No. 23). 

March 4 Women's AP Top 25

1. South Carolina

Record: 29-0 

Previous: No. 1 

2. Stanford

Record: 26-4

Previous: No. 4

3. Iowa

Record: 26-4

Previous: No. 6

4. Ohio State

Record: 25-4

Previous: No. 2

5. USC

Record: 23-5

Previous: No. 7

6. Texas

Record: 27-4

Previous: No. 3


Record: 24-5

Previous: No. 8

8. LSU

Record: 26-4

Previous: No. 9

9. UConn

Record: 26-5

Previous: No. 10

10. North Carolina State

Record: 25-5

Previous: No. 12

11. Virginia Tech

Record: 23-6

Previous: No. 5

12. Indiana

Record: 24-4

Previous: No. 14

13. Oregon State

Record: 23-6

Previous: No. 11

14. Notre Dame 

Record: 23-6

Previous: No. 17

15. Gonzaga

Record: 29-2

Previous: No. 16

16. Kansas State 

Record: 24-6

Previous: No. 15

17. Baylor

Record: 23-6

Previous: No. 21

18. Colorado

Record: 21-8

Previous: No. 13

19. Oklahoma

Record: 21-8

Previous: No. 20

20. Syracuse

Record: 23-6

Previous: No. 19

21. Creighton

Record: 24-4

Previous: No. 23

22. Utah 

Record: 21-9

Previous: No. 18

23. UNLV

Record: 26-2

Previous: No. 24

24. Louisville

Record: 23-8

Previous: 22

25. Fairfield

Record: 26-1

Previous: Unranked