Last weekend, Caitlin Clark made history. She had already become a household name.

Clark placed her name into college basketball history, becoming Division I’s all-time leading scorer on the basketball court. She passed the great Pete Maravich (3,667 points) as part of another routine-like  performance: 35 points, nine assists and a win over No. 2 Ohio State.

It goes without saying that the record is impressive, along with all of her accomplishments through a transcendent four-year college career.

Let’s take a look at some numbers. Clark has 56 30-point performances. She has 17 triple-doubles. Her 88 straight games with at least one made 3-pointer. Becoming the first Division I women’s player with 3,000 points and 1,000 assists.

Caitlin’s Making An Impact

Caitlin Clark

Still, I am not sure if the numbers will define her college legacy. I am of the belief that her contributions go far beyond the stats. No, Clark’s contributions go so far beyond the numbers.

Clark became an icon at Iowa, a star who made her sport matter more than it ever has. The 6-foot guard from West Des Moines, Iowa, has grown and advanced her sport. Clark made the women’s Final Four seem like the big event last April, larger  than the men’s. Virtually single-handedly, she took her Hawkeye team to the title game. And the nation knew it.

That game drew more than 9.9 million viewers on ABC. No other women’s college basketball game has ever done better. It was also the most streamed sporting event on ESPN. Sports talk-show hosts who would ignore the women’s game are now talking about it, primarily because of Clark, who announced last week that she would not use the COVID-19 waiver from 2020-21 for a fifth season and will enter the 2024 WNBA draft instead.

You have to go a long way back to find a men’s college basketball player who was even close to as popular.

Timing is part of this, because Clark came along during the social media era, when everything is magnified. Girls want to be like her. They line up by the hundreds for her autograph. Iowa set attendance records wherever it went.

It is also impressive how Clark handles the attention. She has followed up last year’s memorable season with an even better year, averaging a remarkable 32.2 points, 8.7 assists and shooting 39.5 percent from 3-point range.

Later this month, Clark will undoubtedly repeat as the National Player of the Year, becoming the first woman to do so since Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart won three straight from 2014-16.

On Sunday, she set a scoring record. But the significance of that mark pales in comparison to what she has meant to women’s college basketball.

Caitlin Clark has brought new customers and fans to her sport. She has increased its popularity and reach. The game will benefit in the years to come because of her.