The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The unrelenting rise of women’s basketball

The current faces and stars of the popular sport & the WNBA Draft

As observed this past month during March Madness, women’s basketball has taken monumental bounds in the direction of favoritism and popularity for countless individuals — especially in the likes of women’s college basketball.

Despite the craze and excitement following this year’s March Madness and the impressive feats that were seen by countless of the female athletes during the tournament, many individuals feel that due diligence is owed to the former faces of women’s basketball who built the empire from the ground up. 

Kelsey Plum, Sabrina Ionescu, Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, Cheryl Miller, and Breanna Stewart are only a few of the many stars who paved the way for the world of basketball and women’s sports as a whole. Each of these countless former female athletes introduced a new calibur of basketball to society, and reimagined the possibilities for the realm of women’s college basketball. 

“I’m sure it will be a big first step for me, but it’s just one step for the WNBA thanks to all the great players, Sheryl Swoops, Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley, and my basketball hero, Maya Moore. These are the girls that kicked down the door so I could walk inside. I want to thank them for laying down the foundation,” former Iowa basketball star, Caitlin Clark, announced during an SNL news skit in response to her upcoming post-collegiate basketball career. 

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Clark, who has become the predominant face of the modern era of women’s collegiate basketball, has broken too many records to count throughout her time with the Iowa Hawkeyes, including the all-time NCAA scoring record. 

“Clark’s Hawkeyes have played in four NCAA tournaments — reaching the Sweet 16 in 2021, the second round in 2022, the national title game in 2023, and the national title game again in 2024. In her senior season, she made history by becoming college basketball’s all-division, all-gender, all-time leading scorer,” Sports Illustrated contributor, Patrick Andres, declared. 

Yet despite her borderline-impossible accomplishments, she and her team did not receive their preferred outcome by the end of the March Madness tournament. 

Earlier this year as the March Madness season began to approach, many basketball fans anticipated the numerous showdowns that would be seen by popular teams like LSU, Iowa, UConn, NC State, Stanford, and South Carolina. As the bracket slowly eliminated teams from the tournament, elite women’s college basketball players like Aliyah Boston, Caitlin Clark, Paige Bueckers, Angel Reese, Cameron Brink, and Kamilla Cardoso began to showcase their talent against each other as they battled head-to-head. 

When the tremendous March Madness warfare came to an end, South Carolina emerged victorious after an undefeated season in a game against the Iowa Hawkeyes. 

“Kamilla Cardoso delivered once again for Dawn Staley and South Carolina. A perfect finish. A dynasty. A team too big for Caitlin Clark and Iowa this time around,” contributor for AP News, Doug Feinburg, reported. “Cardoso had 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, and South Carolina completed its perfect season with an 87-75 victory over Clark and the Hawkeyes in the NCAA championship game on Sunday. With [Dawn] Staley directing a relentless attack from the sideline, the Gamecocks (38-0) became the 10th Division I team to go through a season without a loss. And they accomplished the feat after they lost all five starters from last season’s team that lost to Clark’s squad in the national semifinals.”

Despite the conclusion of this year’s March Madness frenzy, the future of women’s basketball is here and will remain the talk of the town for years to come, especially seeing that the WNBA draft is on the horizon.

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Campbell Burnett
Campbell Burnett, Content Editor

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