WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes addresses comments on Caitlin Clark's all-time scoring record: 'I made a mistake'


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Four-time WNBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes appeared to stir up a media firestorm a few months ago when she made some remarks about Caitlin Clark.

Swoopes was a guest on the “Gil’s Arena” podcast, which is co-hosted by former NBA player Gilbert Arenas, last October. At the time, it was becoming more and more likely that Clark could surpass Kelsey Plum’s NCAA women’s basketball all-time scoring record at some point during the 2023-24 season.

During the conversation with Arenas, Swoopes asserted that Clark had already used a COVID-19 extra year of eligibility, therefore implying that the Iowa star benefited from playing “extra” games during her pursuit of the record. The claim was later proven to be inaccurate.

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Sheryl Swoopes attends at Texas Tech game

Texas Tech alumna Sheryl Swoopes attends the Alumni Weekend at the Texas Tech game against Baylor on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023 at United Supermarkets Arena. (Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Swoopes also made inaccurate statements about Clark’s age, suggesting she was 25 years old and competing against college basketball players who were closer to the age of 20. Swoopes also claimed that Clark was attempting an average of 40 shots each game.

ESPN ANALYST DOESN’T THINK CAITLIN CLARK IS ‘GREAT’ YET FOR ONE REASON

Clark made a three-pointer from the half-court logo during the Hawkeyes home game against Michigan on Feb. 15 to surpass Plum’s record and became the NCAA women’s all-time leading scorer. She finished the game with 49 points, which set the Iowa single-game scoring mark.

Shortly after Clark took the top spot on the scoring list, Swoopes revealed that LSU star Angel Reese facilitated a conversation between her and the Iowa star.

“Honestly, a couple of weeks ago I reached out to Angel (Reese) and had a really good conversation with Angel over the phone and sent a message to Caitlin,” Swoopes said on Feb. 18 during the television broadcast of the Baylor–Texas Tech basketball game. 

“And she responded. She and I went back and forth. I won’t share what she said, I’ll leave that to her if she wants to share.”

Caitlin Clark after breaking record

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes, celebrates after breaking the NCAA women’s all-time scoring record during the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Feb. 15, 2024 in Iowa City, Iowa. (Matthew Holst/Getty Images))

Swoopes characterized her past remarks about Clark as a “mistake” and praised the Hawkeyes star for her contributions to women’s basketball.

“But I will say what I said to her was I made a mistake in saying it was your fifth year when it is your fourth,” Swoopes said. “Have nothing but respect for what she has done for the game. And, you know, if she wants to share what her response was and how that conversation went I’ll leave that to her. But it was a really good conversation.

“When you look at this list, though, there is some talent on this list,” Swoopes added when the broadcast displayed a list of players Clark passed en route to becoming the top scorer.

“But for sure, Caitlin Clark, what she, not only what she did in that game in breaking the record, what she continues to do every single day for women’s basketball is to be commended and congratulations to her on setting that new record.”

Caitlin Clark in February 2024

Guard Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes, listens as the crowd cheers after breaking the NCAA women’s all-time scoring record during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Feb. 15, 2024 in Iowa City, Iowa. (Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

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Last week’s win over the Wolverines improved the Hawkeyes’ record to 23-3 on the season. Clark and the fourth-ranked Hawkeyes travel to Bloomington later this week for a matchup with Indiana.

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