Connect with us


Historic NCAA Women’s Tournament Transforms Landscape for Women’s Hoops



Credit: Iowa Women's Basketball Twitter

It has been a historic NCAA tournament for women’s basketball. For the longest time, women’s basketball—be it at the NCAA or the WNBA level—has been overshadowed by men’s hoops. In fact, for most of its existence, the WNBA has operated at a loss. This year, however, everything changed, and the change began at the collegiate level. Women’s sports are in the midst of a revolution that has catapulted their popularity, and for the first time ever, March Madness was not about what men’s sports were accomplishing, but instead, the epicenter was centered around what the ladies were doing on the court. How did this happen?

The Emergence Of Superstar Caitlin Clark

The Caitlin Clark Phenomenon is hard to quantify. She has revolutionized women’s basketball in a way similar to how Steph Curry revolutionized the NBA with his three-point shot. Clark has been the most dominant women’s basketball player for the last two years and is in the conversation for the best player of all time. Her accolades include:

-2x AP Player of the Year
-3x Big Ten Player of the Year
-2x Naismith Player of the Year
-Most career points in NCAA Tournament history
-Women’s NCAA all-time scoring leader

Clark was instrumental in the revolution that we are seeing today in women’s hoops. However, she is not the only talented woman to dominate. The sport has seen its share of great superstars, such as Diana Taurasi, Skylar Diggins, and Maya Moore. But Clark is doing something the sport has not yet seen. She is shooting three-pointers that are over 30+ feet on a consistent basis, hitting impossible shots from nearly half-court. When she’s on the court, the energy is electrifying, similar to when LeBron James, Steph Curry, or Michael Jordan are on the court. She is a game-changer, not just in the individual game she is playing in, but as an overall game-changer, as she is changing the way women’s hoops is portrayed. Her rise is reminiscent of what Ronda Rousey did for women in the UFC, where Rousey was box office, rivaled only by Conor McGregor in his heyday. Clark has had the same effect on college sports.

How big has Clark’s impact been in viewership numbers? Iowa’s victory over LSU drew over 14 million viewers. It was ESPN’s most-watched basketball game, at the college or professional level, in history. For context, last year the NBA finals between the Heat and the Nuggets peaked at just over 13 million viewers.

Competition At An All-Time High

It wasn’t just Caitlin Clark; women’s hoops have some legit ballers that have elevated the level of the product. Angel Reese for LSU has been a force with her talent and with her personality. Reese is not afraid to speak her mind, and backs up her bravado with a beautiful game—a force at both ends of the floor. LSU’s rivalry with Iowa this year, with a Reese vs. Clark rematch in the Elite Eight, brought in over 12 million viewers, shattering records for Elite Eight viewership. That game alone was higher than the 11.6 million viewers that last year’s NBA Finals series averaged.

Outside of Reese, there was the rise and redemption of Paige Bueckers of UCONN. Bueckers was one of the best players in the tournament and was considered one of the three best players in the world. Bueckers, who had been injured for two years, made a triumphant return this year and went scorched earth on college basketball, becoming one of the top players in the world. UCONN vs. Iowa’s Final Four was the game that broke all viewership records and pitted two of the game’s biggest superstars, Clark and Bueckers, against each other.

Then there is super freshman Juju Watkins who posted a historic freshman campaign averaging 27.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game. Extremely athletic and already unstoppable, there is belief that she will be even more dominant than Caitlin Clark and Bueckers.

When looking at the talent pool that was present in this tournament, men’s college hoops did not have anything as talented or as exciting as what women’s hoops had this year.

South Carolina’s Dominance

The other storyline this year was the dominance of a super team in South Carolina. They vanquished every opponent they faced, including getting revenge on their only loss in the last two years, a tournament loss to Caitlin Clark and Iowa in last year’s NCAA tournament. South Carolina avenged their loss, surviving an 18-point first-quarter barrage from Clark and pulling out an 87-75 victory. A dominant team that became just the fourth college team in history to post an undefeated season, finished the year in historic fashion.

A season with revolutionary players redefining the game, electric personalities, a talent level that continues to evolve, and dominant super teams such as LSU, Iowa, and the juggernaut that was South Carolina, propelled the women’s tournament to historic heights, outperforming the NBA and Men’s College March Madness. This year might be the year that women’s basketball takes a leap into relevance like never before, challenging men’s hoops as a legit contender for viewership. Women’s basketball has arrived and is here to stay.

Check out to get connected with all of our NIL athletes and partnered brands

Continue Reading


Contact Us

Please fill out the form below to connect with us, or call 878-425-3782.