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She’s outscored Caitlin Clark, but you’ve never heard her name ... and she’s OK with that

NAIA basketball star Grace Beyer has more career points than Clark, but her true passion — inspired by her late grandfather — is in the field of pharmacy.
Caitlin Clark, Grace Beyer
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark has broken the all-time leading scorer record in NCAA Division 1, with a total of 3,695 career points. Meanwhile, UHSP guard Grace Beyer broke the all-time leading scorer record for NAIA college basketball with 3,961 points. Will Clark catch her?Getty Images, AP

As Caitlin Clark starts her final post-season for the University of Iowa, fresh off of scoring 3,685 career points and beating the all-time leading scorer record in NCAA Division 1, there’s an unknown future pharmacist in St. Louis wondering if Clark will surpass her historic basketball statistics.

Meet Grace Beyer, the other women’s college basketball star who has quietly been breaking records and making history, far away from the fame, endorsements and the media spotlight.

Beyer’s phenomenal career at the University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy in St. Louis, Missouri, ended March 2nd when her team lost in the semifinals of the women’s American Midwest Conference Tournament. Beyer scored 33 points in that last game, giving her an NAIA collegiate career points total of 3,961.

Yes, you did the math right. That is more than Clark — 276 points more, to be precise — which makes Beyer the current most prolific shooter in college basketball. She’s also the all-time NAIA leader and in fifth place in college basketball history, regardless of division.

Grace Beyer
Grace Beyer is the most prolific shooter in college basketball ... and plays in small gyms.Courtesy Linda Mueller / University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy

Beyer is humble about her record, her career and being mentioned in the same breath as Clark.

“You know, the entire country is talking about how Caitlin Clark is improving the game of basketball on the women’s side and just to be able to do something in somewhat of the same vicinity is special,” Beyer, 23, tells

While Clark has dominated on the bigger, more competitive Division 1 stage, a record is a record, and Clark has not yet broken Beyer’s. Thousands have been lining up around sold-out arenas to watch Clark play. Meanwhile, Beyer’s stage of small gyms has crowds closer to 100 spectators and is exactly what the Wisconsin native signed up for.  She also signed up for a rigorous academic load with medical labs. Lots of them.

Beyer, in her fifth year at UHSP, is one year shy of earning her Doctorate of Pharmacy. It’s the reason she chose the school where the mascot wears a white lab coat and the athletic teams go by the nickname Eutectics, which is the process of two solids coming together to form a liquid. (Beyer admits, with a laugh, that even she had to look up what it meant when she joined the school.)

A passion for basketball ... and pharmacy

Beyer’s passion for both basketball and pharmacy bounce back to her childhood and her bonds with her tight-knit family.

Growing up in the small town of Eagle, Wisconsin, along with her two older brothers, Brian and Daniel, Beyer was the little sis who tagged along to basketball practices and marathon sessions of shooting hoops in the driveway.

Grace Beyer
Grace Beyer got the basketball bug as early as third grade, when she and her dad would practice at the gym every day.Courtesy Julie Beyer

“I just wanted to continue to get better and I had a drive to be the best on the team,” Beyer says of her youth basketball years. “Starting from third grade, my dad and I went to the gym every single day together. Before school, after school, multiple times a day for multiple hours.”

It didn’t take long for her parents, Robert and Julie Beyer, to realize their daughter had undeniable talent.

“She was always extremely hard working at whatever she did. Once she made a commitment to basketball, it was just the dedication to getting better and working at it,” Robert Beyer tells

Beyer earned a spot as a freshman on the varsity squad at Mukwonago High School, and the team made it to the state championship game that year. She credits her teammates — many who went on to play Division 1 ball — for helping her to grow her game by competing with older, stronger players.

Choosing academics over basketball in college

When Beyer was young, her maternal grandfather, Bernard Wenninger, moved in with the family. The two were very close, and Julie Beyer says the family always joked that Grandpa was the reason Grace was so competitive.

“They would play card games and board games from when she was 2 years old and he would always let her win,” Julie Beyer says. “We always would tease my dad and say, ‘You’re the reason she hates losing.’”

Grace Beyer
Grace Beyer and her grandfather, Bernard Wenninger, were very close and loved playing games, which Grandpa would "always let her win," says mom Julie Beyer.Courtesy Julie Beyer

During her early high school years, Beyer's grandfather's health was declining. Beyer helped with his medications.

“My Grandpa had a bunch of different medications he was on and he started, as he got older, to kind of struggle to be adherent and take all of his medications properly,” Beyer said. “So I stepped in and helped him keep his medications organized and just helped him a little bit more with his healthcare. And that piqued my interest in pharmacy.”

When it came time to get serious about basketball college options, Beyer says she had lots of interest from coaches of Division 1 and Division 2 schools. However, there was concern whenever Beyer expressed her academic goals. Pharmacy degrees, in particular, require undergraduate degrees in biology or chemistry, along with extra years to earn a doctorate.

“The bigger colleges kind of stuck their nose up to anything in the healthcare field. Not every one, but the overall vibe of going into the healthcare field is discouraged, at least in my experience,” she says. “There’s just too many hours in labs and academic courses that they believe that you wouldn’t be able to fully commit to basketball.”

Grace Beyer
Grace Beyer driving for a layup. In the 2023-2024 season, she averaged 35.03 points per game.Courtesy Linda Mueller / University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy

Beyer’s parents realized that their academically-gifted daughter, who would eventually be her high school class salutatorian, needed to change her focus.

“At that point, it was a quick flip. School after school was hesitant about accommodating or even talking about that kind of career,” Robert Beyer says. “So then we started doing research and saying, well, if you want to be in the medical field, that’s a good career. And if basketball comes with it, hey, then that’s a bonus.”

“I had a lot of conversations with my parents,” Beyer told the Associated Press, “and they urged me to prepare for 40 years of my life rather than four years of college. It’s kind of a big concept to grasp when you’re in high school, but I just knew that I wanted to be happy and have a career in something I’m going to enjoy. And basketball? I’ll enjoy that whenever I play.” 

A fan of Caitlin Clark

Beyer, who is known for her low-key demeanor on the court, is unsurprisingly diplomatic when discussing whether she thinks Clark will break her points record, saying that it "depends on how far" Clark's Iowa squad goes in the NCAA tournament.

She does, however, consider herself a fan, describing Clark as "really fun to watch.” She can compare their games in many ways — but says there’s one area where Clark really shines.

“She has so many assists and also can score the ball really well, which is a similarity between our two games. But it’s the logo 3s," Beyer says, referring to shots taken near halfcourt. "I don’t know how she does it!”

Like the rest of the world, Beyer has watched Clark amass unprecedented fame and fortune in women’s college basketball, even before her February 29th announcement that she would be entering the WNBA draft after this season. Clark has NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) deals with companies such as Gatorade, State Farm and Nike, valued at $3.1 million, according to On3, a website that covers college recruiting.

When asked if she ever doubts her decision to depart from the Division 1, serious-basketball route, Beyer, who has no NIL deals and has only had partial scholarships, answers thoughtfully.

“There’s always going to be those thoughts in the back of my mind, but I can’t look back and just think about the ‘what ifs’ because I’ve accomplished something amazing at UHSP and I don’t ever regret my decision coming here,” she says.

Once she gets her doctorate degree, Beyer — who, alongside Clark, was part of the 2022-2023 Academic All-America Team — says she’ll evaluate what her future looks like. And basketball may be part of it.

“After next year, if I want to grow the game of basketball and play overseas, I will take advantage of that,” she says. “But I also love pharmacy and could just pursue that for the rest of my life.”

Playing for Grandpa, one last time

Beyer’s grandfather passed away during her sophomore year in college. But he did get to see her play as No. 5 for the Eutectics once. Julie Beyer recalls how they drove the nearly 6 hours from their home to St. Louis to watch Grace play.

Grace Beyer
Grace Beyer with her family, including her Grandpa, who surprised her by making it to one of her college games.Courtesy Julie Beyer

“His health was failing pretty dramatically. We got him to one game and Grace didn’t know he was coming,” Julie Beyer says. “We pushed him in a wheelchair just because he would get so labored. But he was so excited to see her play.”

Beyer remembers that day vividly: The man who inspired her future pharmaceutical career came to watch her play for the basketball team where she would set records that Caitlin Clark might not even surpass. “That meant a lot.”