Women’s Basketball Breaking Boundaries

Clark & Bueckers Moving Forward
Womens Basketball Breaking Boundaries

With women’s basketball having been put into a particularly bright spotlight this season, there is no doubt as to the reason(s) why. With names like Angel Reese, Cameron Brink, Paige Bueckers, and the record-breaking player Caitlin Clark finishing up their final seasons to head into the WNBA the people could no longer deny the one-of-a-kind talent and natural likability of the young players from women’s basketball teams at the collegiate level. 

While Southern Carolina won the NCAA championship in an 87-75 game over Iowa, fans and media were particularly fixated on the final four game between Iowa and UConn. Not knowing the outcome of the two high talent teams, and more specifically the two high talent players each team possess, this game quickly became the most viewed basketball game on ESPN at 14.2 million viewers tuning in to see who came out the other end. The battle between Bueckers and Clark truly showed each player’s devotion to their team and their ability to translate that in their intense performance on the court. Paige was able to score her team 17 points while Caitlin struggled to break through the Huskies defense that swarmed her every time she touched the ball. The highly anticipated game was a hard fight for each team with Iowa advancing after their 71-69 win that came down to one questionable call by the ref against UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards for a screen. 

In February, Bueckers, a redshirt junior, announced this season would not be her last following the Huskies senior night.  

“I know everybody wants me to address the elephant in the room,” Bueckers said. “Unfortunately, this will not be my last senior night here at UConn.” 

The UConn star was forced to miss her 22-23 season after suffering an ACL tear prior to what would’ve been her junior season. She has expressed how this is a large contributing factor in her decision to stay, while denying the allegations of taking her extra year of eligibility to continue earning her large pay with NIL. There is no doubt about the change in income that college athletes can experience when getting drafted, but the famed player simply feels that her time with her team is not yet over. 

“Just the family camaraderie here, just loving it here, loving my teammates, loving my coaches, me not having the four years that I planned on, not being able to play as much.” Says Bueckers.

Caitlin Clark, on the other hand, has just recently been selected as the 1st overall pick in the WNBA draft to play for Indiana Fever. Clark, being the newest all time women’s NCAA Division I lead scorer, was predicted to be placed with the Fever as they had first pick for the second year in a row. Caitlin Clark had a phenomenal end to her history making four years at Iowa where her legacy will forever continue as they have retired her jersey number “22” all together.  Old fans of Iowa and new fans of Indiana Fever are on the edge of their seats to see where Caitlin goes next in her basketball career and her future as an inspiration to younger generations.  

Bueckers and Clark will continue their separate basketball careers and continue ringing in new fans of the overlooked sport of women’s basketball, whether it may be at the professional or collegiate level. The two have been able to use their platforms and talent to further the progress that female athletes have been able to make over time, working with popular brands and companies like Nike, Gatorade, and more to make sure that girls no longer must hear the phrase, “nobody watches women’s sports.” 

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