Breaking Boundaries: Women’s March Madness Shatters Records in Historic Tournament Run

Courtesy of Gamecocks Online

Caitlin Clark, Kamilla Cardoso, Paige Bueckers, Aziaha James, Angel Reese, Dawn Staley, and many more. They all deserve their own story. 

This year’s March Madness women’s basketball tournament was nothing short of exciting, record-breaking, uplifting, and empowering. Throughout late March and into early April, 68 college basketball teams competed in hopes of earning the national title. This year, the South Carolina Gamecocks won in an exhilarating game over the Iowa Hawkeyes; however, the excitement was not just contained in this game. 

During the college basketball season, records upon records were broken, spearheaded by various players and coaches. In the Elite Eight portion of the 2023 tournament, women’s college basketball started to catch fire, thanks to a star matchup between Louisiana State University (LSU), led by Angel Reese, and the University of Iowa, led by Caitlin Clark. Head to head, LSU came out with a win, scoring 102-85, making it the highest-scoring women’s championship game ever. Reese recorded her 34th double-double, breaking the NCAA record for the most double-doubles. Now, a year later, again in the Elite Eight portion of the tournament, the game between LSU and Iowa set a record for being the most-viewed women’s basketball game ever, averaging 12.3 million viewers. It was just before this game that Iowa’s Clark was breaking other records, scoring a 40-point triple-double in an NCAA tournament game, making her the first to do so. 

Coming into the Final Four, Iowa was set to play the University of Connecticut and North Carolina State was set to face the University of South Carolina. The odds were stacked against NC State, as South Carolina at that point was undefeated. On the other side, a huge matchup was in the making, as Iowa and UConn historically have done very well in college basketball. Each team was led by star players, known nationwide for their basketball accomplishments. After a close game, Iowa came out on top, winning 71-69. This game broke the previous viewership record from the Elite Eight games, becoming the most-watched women’s basketball game in history, peaking at 17 million viewers, with an average of 14.2 million people watching. 

Just a few days later, the final matchup for the national title was underway, between Iowa and South Carolina. Iowa led the first quarter, 27-20, then started to fall behind. South Carolina, led by star player Kamilla Cardoso and coach Dawn Staley, won the last three quarters, bringing them an 87-75 victory and capping off their undefeated season with the national championship ring. South Carolina has lost only three games in the past three years, with a 109-3 record. The viewership record was again broken in the championship game with a total of 24 million viewers and an average of 18.7 million people watching. This viewing record holds up well against other sports, regardless of gender, significantly topping the viewing for every World Series game last year and every NBA finals game last year as well. 

It is an exciting time for women’s sports, and hopefully, this national excitement will continue and spread to other areas and sports. Women’s sports have always been interesting. The world is just now starting to notice. 

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