Women’s NCAA basketball tournament sets the standard

Paving the way for girls in sports everywhere


This year’s women’s national basketball tournament has been one for the record books. Throughout the duration of the Big Dance, numerous teams have entertained viewers through upsets, radical last-second shots and unparalleled performances. However, the most notable achievement of the 2023 tournament is how it is changing the world’s attitude toward women’s sports.

One of the most prolific players in women’s collegiate athletics, Caitlin Clark, is redefining what it means to play basketball. The junior guard from Iowa, recently named Naismith and AP Player of the Year, has single-handedly helped lead her team to the Final Four, averaging 30 points, 11 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 4.8 three-pointers and 2.5 steals in the tournament’s four games so far.

“She is spectacular. I don’t know how else to describe what she does on the basketball court,” Iowa’s head coach Lisa Bluder said in an article by the Associated Press.

In fact, in Iowa’s 97-83 victory over Louisville in the elite eight, Clark recorded a 40-point triple-double, which has never been achieved in either men’s and women’s NCAA history.

“The better the opponent, almost the better she plays,” Bluder said in an article by ESPN

The same matchup procured the largest viewing audience of any elite eight game, reeling in a total of 2.49 million viewers. This number is a larger viewing audience than any NBA regular season game broadcast on ESPN from last season, with the highest game peaking at 2.14 million viewers. 

“[Tickets] for the women’s tournament are already more expensive for the men’s…which shows just how big of a deal this game is,” reporter Amanda Christovich said when asked about the Final Four matchup between No. 1 South Carolina and No. 2 Iowa.

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which has changed women’s sports forever: 

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

This year’s tournament will not only change the perspective on women’s basketball, but the entirety of female sports. 

“I’m there for inspiring the next generation and being there for the people that you know are going through a hard time,” said Clark in an Associated Press article. “Being able to give joy to people that watch you play and watch your team play is amazing.”