The Caitlin Clark vs. Sabrina Ionescu debate should be settled by one simple stat

Stanford v Oregon
Stanford v Oregon / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Caitlin Clark is now the all-time leading scorer in NCAA basketball, men’s or women’s. As she has risen to stardom, Clark has been compared to numerous female ballers who came before her. 

One of those former NCAA stars is Oregon Duck Sabrina Ionescu. The Oregon legend played for the Ducks from 2016-20 and set quite a few records of her own.

While many have dubbed Clark as the GOAT of NCAA basketball, I would argue that Ionescu still holds her own in that arena.

As the record holder for the most triple-doubles recorded by an individual player, Ionescu is the greatest all-around player that has ever taken the college court. 

Being able to provide not just points for her own stat line but assists so her teammates can score as well as rebounds to create more opportunities all around, put her a leg ahead of Clark. 

This by no means is an attempt to discredit what Clark has done. The Iowa star knows ball and it’s evident every time she takes the court. I’m just saying that Ionescu deserves to be named the GOAT until someone breaks her triple-dub record.

The Case for Sabrina Ionescu

Not only does Ionescu have the most triple-doubles in the record book, she has 26 which is more than double the previous record by the way, but she was also the first female player to hit the 2k-1k-1k mark.

This means she was the first woman in college basketball history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds.

Caitlin Clark has yet to hit the 2k-1k-1k mark and only 17 triple-doubles. There, debate settled.

Being an all-around player is more valuable than only being able to score. And yes, I know that Clark also has a crap ton of assists (1,058 to be exact). 

One area that the Hawkeye falls short of the Duck’s status is in rebounds. Over four seasons, Clark has only brought down 923 rebounds, compared to 1,040 rebounds that Ionescu had in four seasons of college ball.

Clark is still short of Ionescu’s assist total. The Duck recorded 1,091 in her career with Oregon so Clark has 33 assists remaining to catch up.

With 3,685 career points, there’s no arguing that Clark is the greatest scorer to ever grace the college courts. Ionescu only hit 2,562 points before declaring for the WNBA Draft. However, Ionescu’s final season was heartachingly cut short due to COVID-19.

The 2019-20 season was supposed to end in Ionescu and Oregon winning the national title but the Ducks never got a chance to go dancing once the pandemic unfolded.

Had Ionescu played in at least six more games (the exact amount that the Ducks would have had to win for the national title), she could have added at least 100 more points to her career total.

While she’d still fall short of Clark’s shiny new record, Ionescu would also have the national title to add to her trophy case.

Caitlin Clark is one of the greatest basketball players that I have ever seen take the court. Her vision and passing abilities are elite. Her talent for stopping on a dime to pull up from the logo and drain a three-point shot is astonishing.

But, and it’s a big but, Sabrina Ionescu is still the greatest of all time in my books and she should be in yours as well.

What I would love to see is a three-point shootout between the Duck and the Hawkeye, let’s just leave Steph Curry out of it this time.

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