Caitlin Clark vs Paige Bueckers Stats Comparison: Which NCAA Star Has Better March Madness Numbers?

Published 04/02/2024, 3:38 PM EDT

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Following an exciting March Madness run, basketball fans are left wondering: who reigns supreme between Caitlin Clark and Paige Bueckers? In the Elite Eight, 6-foot Clark scored 41 points over No. 3 LSU to advance to the Final 4, taking revenge for the Hawkeyes’ 2023 title-game loss. After a 35th straight entry to the NCAA Tournament, the No. 3 Huskies advanced to the last weekend of March Madness, defeating No. 6 Syracuse.

Afterward, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma threw shade at Clark, claiming: “We have the best player in America…just saying that because the numbers, in this world of analytics, say that she (Bueckers) is.” But can UConn boss Geno Auriemma, who turned down Clark’s “dream college” scholarship offer five years ago when she was a college prospect, really claim that the statistics support Paige Bueckers‘ superiority over Clark?

Statistic status: Caitlin Clark vs Paige Bueckers

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At the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Clark and Bueckers played together for Team USA’s U19 squad. They defeated Mali 93-79 in the championship game to win gold. Fast forward to now, their respective 2024 stats were published by nbcphiladelphia.com. In 36 games, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark recorded: 31.7 points, 8.9 assists, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, and a 46/38/86 shooting split on 23/14/7 volume.

As for Paige Bueckers, who played 37 games, the numbers looked like: 21.9 points, 3.8 assists, 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 1.4 blocks, and 54/42/83 on a 15/5/4 volume shot. Although it’s easy to assume Paige is more efficient than Caitlin, it was a bit of a surprise to learn that she plays more minutes. Caitlin’s increased usage rates on the Iowa squad undoubtedly contribute to her better averages.

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UConn and the Bueckers seek to take back the national recognition that they’ve missed in recent years. Bueckers struggled with knee injury for the past two seasons, after being named the NCAA Player of the Year in her freshman year and making it to the title game. The 6-foot point guard was only starting one-on-one sessions at the gym a year ago and was looking forward to a triumphant comeback. It’s been a long journey, and she admitted that the mental strain has been tremendous. With 28 points on Monday night, she gave the Huskies their seventh straight 20+ point game with 10 rebounds, making a double-double.

According to ESPN, Bueckers was ranked as the top high school prospect in 2020, while Clark was ranked fourth. And since their last title face-off in 2021, where UConn defeated Iowa in Sweet 16 with a 92-72 win, they’re yet to be seen together, making this week’s match a long-anticipated one. Only this year,  Caitlin Clark has elevated the women’s game to unprecedented levels, even outpacing the men’s matches in terms of media attention, scores, and ticket costs.

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Perspective-based comparison

Both Clark and Bueckers have a reputation for dominating games. Each player has won the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith College Player of the Year, and the AP Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year Award during their collegiate career. However, some believe Clark appears to have the upper hand over Bueckers, largely due to her utilization. It’s no secret that Iowa will use Clark to lead the offense, which leaves no room for diverse potential use. On the other hand, Bueckers is not the only standout for UConn. Aaliyah Edwards, her formidable partner, is equally important to the team, sometimes making Bueckers the Robin. This implies that her contribution per game might not be as striking as Clark’s.

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Having said that, Bueckers shoots more effectively. Clark averages over 30 points per game because she makes so many more attempts than her UConn rival. Despite averaging 21.9 points per game, Bueckers sinks baskets at a higher clip. In terms of defense, the UConn senior outperforms the Iowa point guard, as Bueckers totals more steals (2.32) than Clark (1.26). At the moment, there’s a fine chance for Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes to play Bueckers’s team in the Final Four, which could end the debate for this season.

Continue Reading Point Guards In Action: A Closer Look Into NCAA Stars Paige Bueckers and Caitlin Clark’s Unique Gameplay

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Written by:

Divya Purohit

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Divya Purohit is a senior Olympics Sports writer for EssentiallySports. She majorly covers gymnastics, alpine skiing, and horse racing. While bringing the detailed stats of gymnastics to the American readers, she covered two prominent events - the 2023 Xfinity Gymnastics Championships, and the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
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