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Amna Subhan | | December 23, 2022

How Caitlin Clark and Elena Delle Donne sprinted to 2,000 points in only 75 games

Caitlin Clark breaks down her incredible 2021 tourney game against Kentucky

Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne became the fastest women’s player in NCAA DI history to reach 2,000 career points when she scored 42 against Hofstra on Feb. 16, 2012 in her 75th career game.

Now, more than 10 years later, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark has matched Delle Donne with a 20-point effort in a victory over Dartmouth on Dec. 21, 2022, also in her 75th career game. Her 2,000th-career points came on a 3-pointer in the first half.

"Elena Delle Donne, she was a person I idolized growing up," Clark said after eclipsing the milestone. "I have her shoes in my locker." 

We thought it would be fun to compare how each player reached the 2K mark. I looked at both players' journeys to 2,000 and here are some of the things that stood out:

  • Their scoring averages are almost identical. Delle Donne averaged 26.7 points at Delaware; Clark averages 26.8 a night almost halfway through her junior season.
  • Clark notched her 1,000 point in her 40th game last season, again following Delle Donne who accomplished the feat in 38 games
  • Delle Donne won the scoring title once (2012) in her collegiate career. Clark won back-to-back years (2021, 2022) and is currently third in the country in scoring. 
  • Both players earned their 2,000th career points on 3-pointers.

Here's more on how each player reached 2,000.

Delle Donne finished her freshman season with 774 points, which includes a career-high performance of 54 points. After battling injury as a sophomore, she still became the fastest player hitting over 2,000 toward the end of her junior season in February 2012. The current WNBA superstar ranks ninth in NCAA DI women’s all-time scoring with 3,039 points. 

Here’s a look at Delle Donne’s career at Delaware: 

2009-10 28 26.7 47.7 774
2010-11 21 25.3 41.9 557
2011-12 32 28.1 52 927
2012-13 30 26 48.7 781

HISTORY: Winningst programs in DI women's basketball 

Comparatively, Clark has totaled more points than Delle Donne in her first two seasons; though the Delaware legend's junior 927 holds 14th place in the record book for single-season scoring. Clark hit a career-high 46 points in her sophomore campaign and has reached at least 40 four total times. 

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK Caitlin Clark autographs her shoes and gives them to a fan.Caitlin Clark autographs her shoes and gives them to a fan after the game in which she scored her 2,000th career points.

Here are the Hawkeye guard's stats: 

2020-21 30 26.6 47.2 799
2021-22 32 27 45.2 863
2022-23* 13 27 46.1 351

*games through Dec. 21, 2022

With 16 games left in the regular season, Clark is on pace to finish with 2,445 total points, not including conference or NCAA tournament games. Barring injury, that model would have Clark closing her NCAA career with over 3,000 points — which only 13 other NCAA DI women's players have done. Delle Donne reached the milestone in under 115 games. 

These are the all-time leading scorers in women's DI college basketball:

Kelsey Plum Washington 2017 3,527
Kelsey Mitchell Ohio St. 2018 3,402
Jackie Stiles Missouri State 2001 3,393
Brittney Griner Baylor 2013 3,283
Patricia Hoskins Mississippi Valley State 1989 3,122
Lorri Bauman Drake 1984 3,115
Jerica Coley FIU 2014 3,107
Rachel Banham Minnesota 2016 3,093
Elena Delle Donne Delaware 2013 3,039
Maya Moore UConn 2011 3,036
Chamique Holdsclaw Tennessee 1999 3,025
Cheryl Miller Southern California 1986 3,018
Cindy Blodgett Maine 1998 3,005
LaToya Thomas Mississippi State 2003 2,981
Valorie Whiteside Appalachian State 1988 2,944
Kelly Mazzante Penn State 2004 2,919
Joyce Walker LSU 1984 2,906
Jess Kovatch Saint Francis (PA) 2019 2,874
Kevi Luper Oral Roberts 2013 2,867
Alysha Clark Belmont/Middle Tenn. 2010 2,865
Heather Butler UT Martin 2014 2,865
Sandra Hodge New Orleans 1984 2,860
Andrea Riley Oklahoma State 2010 2,835
Jantel Lavender Ohio State 2011 2,818
Megan Gustafson Iowa 2019 2,804
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