The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

March Madness: The Success of Women’s Basketball

This past NCAA women’s basketball season was nothing short of thrilling. The league received over 18.7 million views, surpassing the men’s NCAA and professional leagues at a shocking level. Was this year’s insight into the league’s fierce competition and dimensional personalities an anomaly driven by Caitlin Clark, or is it a surge in popularity that is here to stay?

April 7 marked the end of a historic, thrilling season of college women’s basketball. With the league receiving over 18.7 million views, NCAA women’s basketball surpassed not only every NCAA men’s basketball game in viewership but also every NBA game in that timeframe.

Last season, the fierce clash between Iowa and LSU gained the attention of millions across the country, exposing the nation to the competitive spirit and dimensional personalities of the NCAA women’s basketball league.

With the world watching iconic players such as Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and LSU’s Angel Reese continuing to thrive during the off-season through social media, sponsorships, and interactions with fans, viewers became extremely invested in this year’s season not just for the basketball but the exciting drama that comes with the sport.

When Iowa beat LSU on the way to the NCAA Final Four, viewership skyrocketed. Attention was both positive and negative, with aggressive players like Reese receiving hate on social media. Still, these women are quick to defend each other, highlighting the chemistry that allows the teams to persevere.

Iowa vs. LSU Livestream: Watch March Madness Basketball Online Free
The heated banter between LSU’s Angel Reese and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark drew the attention of many fans last season, highlighting both the playfulness and intensity of the sport (Credit: Getty Images).

“The crown she wears is heavy,” said LSU’s sophomore guard Flau’jae Johnson.  “She’s the type of teammate that’s going to make you believe in yourself.” While the loss of LSU saddened many fans, viewers turned to the Final Four with exhilaration.

Tickets to the NCAA women’s Final Four, with South Carolina vs. North Carolina State and Iowa vs. UConn, sold for almost twice as much as the men’s tournament tickets that week. While The Final Four would showcase the greatest Division I scorer, Clark, and her potential championship title, these four games were decorated with many other storylines.

First off, there was UConn’s senior Paige Bueckers, who was playing her returning season after multiple knee surgeries. Bueckers was named 2021 player of the year, a star ever since high school. She famously played alongside Clark and LSU’s Hailey Van Lith for team USA, so Clark and Bueckers were stepping onto the court with a history as both competitors and friends.

Meanwhile, South Carolina was riding on a no-loss streak the entire season, with a perfect 36-0. In this intense game between North Carolina State and South Carolina, point guard Saniya Rivers, who transferred from South Carolina, would be playing her former team.

South Carolina celebrates their unbeaten season and third women’s basketball title after an intense game against Iowa (Credit: NCAA).

The Final Four games were heated. From the controversial offensive foul in the final moments of Iowa vs. UConn to South Carolina’s Kamila Cardoso playing through the pain of a knee injury in the second half and bringing South Carolina to a winning score of 78-59.

April 7 could be considered one of the most historic championships of NCAA basketball. While speculations about South Carolina’s win can be made, there is no doubt that this showdown was one of two iconic, powerful, and driven teams.

Today marks the day of the WNBA draft, and the futures of star players such as Clark, Reese, Cardoso, UConn’s Nika Mühl and Aaliyah Edwards, Stanford’s Cameron Brink, will be determined. Meanwhile, many of the nation’s favorite players will continue to play. The nation has its eyes on players like Bueckers and Van Lith, waiting to see what more they can bring to the game.

Senior Connor Chen said, “With ESPN covering NCAA women’s basketball, much needed popularity will be brought to the WNBA, an underrated field of the sport.”

UConn’s guard Paige Bueckers announces her return to UConn for another season, leaving fans excited to see what she will bring to the league next year (Credit: USA Today).

“I think media coverage is important for the game,” said Bueckers. She continued, “But I think it’s more important for the game to share the spotlight to grow the game and show all the stars of college basketball and not just focus on one particular player, whether it be me, Caitlin, JuJu [Watkins], Angel.”

“I honestly hope next year I’m not the focal point and the only person that gets attention. And I hope, as media, as players we can spread the love a little bit more,” Bueckers said.

While it is possible to believe that this season’s success is an anomaly driven by Caitlin Clark, many believe that this surge in popularity is one that will only continue to grow. With increasing media coverage for not only basketball but all women’s sports, hopefully these underrated games will finally get the attention they deserve.

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About the Contributor
Katie Ng
Katie Ng, Editor-in-Chief
Katie Ng is one of Guide Post’s editors-in-chief. She is co-president of Interact Club and on the Debate Team. As part of the school’s Science Research program, Katie is passionate about environmental science and chemistry. She loves to run and has been on the cross country and track teams since she was a freshman. Katie loves to read and is always open to giving or receiving book recommendations. In the mornings, you can find Katie sipping an iced coffee or matcha latte at her locker.

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