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The 13 highest-scoring individual performances in March Madness women’s history

The 13 highest-scoring individual performances in March Madness women’s history
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It has been more than 40 years since the first women’s NCAA DI tournament in 1982, and there have been many record-setting performances throughout the years, including the highest-scoring individual games in the tournament’s history.

We’re breaking down all 13 players who have scored at least 41 points in a single March Madness game.

The records are taken from the official guides at NCAA.org. The tournament field expanded from 32 teams in 1982 to 64 teams in 1994.

Lorri Bauman — 50 points

Lorri Bauman set the individual scoring record of 50 points during a loss to Maryland in the first DI women’s championship tournament in 1982. This was before the 3-point line was introduced in 1987. Bauman was 21 of 35 from the field, 8 of 11 from the line and played all 40 minutes without a turnover. She went on to become the first woman in NCAA history to reach 3,000 career points during her tenure at Drake from 1980-1984.

Year: 1982
School: Drake
Opponent: Maryland
Round: Region Final
Result: Loss, 89-78 

Sheryl Swoopes — 47 points

Swoopes’ 47-point game is the only performance on this list to directly result in a national title. She helped secure Texas Tech’s first championship in 1993. Her 47 points remain as the top scoring individual game in women’s Final Four history.

Year: 1993
School: Texas Tech
Opponent: Maryland
Round: Championship
Result: Win, 84-82 

Jayne Appel — 46 points

Jayne Appel’s 46 points against Iowa State in 2009 was almost enough to single-handedly defeat the the Cyclones. The win was the Cardinal’s 20th in a row before losing to eventual champion UConn in the Final Four.

Year: 2009
School: Stanford
Opponent: Iowa State
Round: Elite Eight
Result: Win, 74-53 

Kelsey Mitchell — 45 points

The Buckeyes needed almost every bit of Mitchell’s 45 to take down West Virginia, 88-81, in the 2016 tournament. Ohio State would go on to be eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Tennessee.

Year: 2016
School: Ohio State
Opponent: West Virginia
Round: Second round
Result: Win, 88-81

Candice Wiggins — 44 points

Candice Wiggins is is the only player in history to have two 40-plus performances in one tournament.  She flirted with a triple-double in this one, scoring 44 points to go along with 10 boards and eight dimes.

Year: 2008
School: Stanford
Opponent: UTEP
Round: Second round
Result: Win, 88-54

Barbara Kennedy — 43 points

The 1982 tournament featured two of the 11 highest scoring individual games in March Madness history. Clemson’s Barbara Kennedy scored 43 points in a loss to Penn State in the first women’s NCAA tournament game ever played. According to clemsontigers.com, Kennedy had a record 93 games of at least 20 points, is the all-time leading scorer in ACC history with 3,113 points and averaged a nation-leading 29.3 average points as a senior.

Year: 1982
School: Clemson
Opponent: Penn State
Round: First round
Result: Loss, 96-75

Marissa Coleman — 42 points

Marissa Coleman dropped 42 points and brought down game high 15 rebounds in the Terps ’09 win against Vanderbilt. Coleman led Maryland’s come back from an 18-point deficit and scored the go-ahead basket with 27.9 seconds left to head to the Elite Eight. 

Year: 2009
School: Maryland
Opponent: Vanderbilt
Round: Sweet 16
Result: Win, 78-74

Elizabeth Kitley — 42 points

Elizabeth Kitley scored 42 points as her No. 5 Hokies were upset by No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast 84-81. She was one of only two players for Tech to score in double figures as her team battled from behind during much of the second half. 

Year: 2022
School: Virginia Tech
Opponent: Florida Gulf Coast
Round: First round
Result: Loss, 84-81

Caitlin Clark — 41 points (achieved three times)

Caitlin Clark’s 2023 tournament run featured several record breaking performances as she was the first player in NCAA history to record back to back, 40-point games. Her first 41-point performance against Louisville in the Elite Eight came with along with 12 assists and 10 rebounds— the first ever 40-point triple-double in men’s or women’s NCAA tournament history— pushing the Hawkeyes to their first ever Final Four. During Iowa’s semifinal bout, Clark scored 41 points once more, knocking off overall No. 1 seed South Carolina, snapping the Gamecocks 42-game winning streak, and sending Iowa to its first ever championship game.

One year later, Clark once again poured in 41 points, this time in the 2024 Elite Eight in a 94-87 win over LSU. She knocked down nine 3-pointers, tying an NCAA tournament single-game record, and added 12 assists.

Years: 2023 and 2024
School: Iowa
Opponent: Louisville and South Carolina (2023) | LSU (2024)
Round: Elite Eight | Final Four
Result: Win, 97-83 | Win, 77-73

Jackie Stiles — 41 points

At just 5’8, Jackie Stiles dropped 41 points against ACC powerhouse Duke to send her team to to the Elite Eight. Stiles single-handedly outscored the Blue Devils 16-10 in the final 8 minutes 11 seconds of the game.

Year: 2001
School: Missouri State
Opponent: Duke
Round: Sweet 16
Result: Win, 84-81

Kiki Iriafen — 41 points

Kiki Iriafen saved the Cardinal from a successive stunning Round of 32 upset with a masterful 41-point performance against Iowa State. The star Stanford forward finished a perfect 9 for 9 at the foul line and stuffed the stat sheet at every opportunity, totaling 16 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal.

Year: 2024
School: Stanford
Opponent: Iowa State
Round: Round of 32
Result: Win, 87-81 (OT)

Candice Wiggins — 41 points

Wiggins followed up her 44-point performance in the second round of the 2008 tournament with 41 against Maryland in the Elite Eight. Stanford would go on to lose in the national title game against Tennessee.

Year: 2008
School: Stanford
Opponent: Maryland
Round: Elite Eight
Result: Win, 98-87

Morgan William — 41 points

Mississippi State Athletics

Morgan William scored 41 points in an instant classic, Elite Eight battle against Baylor that needed extra time to decide the winner. William went on to lead the Bulldogs to another win in OT against UConn before heading to the program’s first national title appearance.

Year: 2017
School: Mississippi State
Opponent: Baylor
Round: Elite Eight
Result: Win, 94-85 OT

Here is the complete list:

Player point total year school
Lorri Bauman 50 1982 Drake
Sheryl Swoopes 47 1993 Texas Tech
Jayne Appel 46 2009 Stanford
Kelsey Mitchell 45 2016 Ohio State
Candice Wiggins 44 2008 Stanford
Barbara Kennedy 43 1982 Clemson
Marissa Coleman 42 2009 Maryland
Elizabeth Kitley 42 2022 Virginia Tech
Caitlin Clark^ 41 2023 Iowa
Jackie Stiles 41 2001 Missouri State
Kiki Iriafen 41 2024 Stanford
Candice Wiggins 41 2008 Stanford
Morgan William 41 2017 Mississippi State

^ Clark scored 41 points three times — twice during the 2023 tournament and once in the 2024 tournament

 



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