Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Why we are watching women play ball

Lauren Stein

Title IX is a middle-aged mother whose daughters’ coming of age is a different kind of debutante ball: every year, a new belle enters from the double doors of her chosen college sport to be introduced to professional teams and audiences. Thankfully, they’re being recognized for more than beauty, though they continue to be subjected to discrimination and face sexist standards. The difference is that this year, women are coming up as the greatest and hardest athletes in all sports society. 

To be able to refer to the golden age of basketball implies it is not happening now. The next big name in the sport could have been Purdue University’s towering Zach Edey, standing 7-foot-4 with 926 points to his name, if he were not dwarfed by six-foot superstar Caitlin Clark’s remarkable 1183 points. To aggravate matters, the top ten women average 23.96 points per game versus the top ten men’s average of 22.51.  

Independently, the women are strong, and as such, their teams are akin to superhero leagues. The final four, or the Fantastic Four, showed out on their stats: South Carolina holds the top defensive mark in the country, Iowa’s strength is its discouraging offense, UConn’s high defense and offensive efforts make them a jack of all trades and N.C State’s low foul rate keeps them in the game. The shining potential being generated has caught the eye of a powerful few watching, as every step is leaving money all over the court – and off it, too. 

Recently, the NCAA and ESPN shook hands on a $65 million contract for women’s basketball, a hike over 10 times higher than the previous contract. Shoe deals were signed for 15 women from nine different brands, including Nike, Reebok and Puma. Jenny Nguyen, owner of The Sports Bra, the first sports bar to feature only women’s sports, put her passion simply: “I’ve been watching women’s basketball for decades, it feels like everyone else is just catching up… it’s about damn time.”

Indeed, audiences have caught up with the times, with a recent game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and LSU Tigers pulling in a record 12.3 million viewers. That’s record-breaking for men and women, by the way. 

Even Lebron James, Travis Scott and Shaquille O’Neal are watching the games, with the latter sharing on his podcast: “The boys suck, so I’m not following, but I’m definitely following the girls. Actually, women’s basketball is kicking a–. I don’t think I know any men’s [players].”

There doesn’t seem to be a need to know them either. The competition, money and fun are pouring out of the women. Demand and supply are increasing in other women’s sports, too, such as soccer or F1 racing

The WNBA awaits as stars Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Paige Bueckers and more dance across the court floor, waiting to be selected for the upcoming shining era of women’s basketball. 

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Faith Kouadio
Faith Kouadio, Staff Writer

Faith (she/her) is a public health major with a minor in information systems. Despite choosing to pursue studies in these specific fields, she enjoys writing and communications and hopes to incorporate them as a key part of her career. She believes in an increasingly information-heavy world, everyone has a duty to responsibly disseminate information – contributing to the Paisano is her small way of accomplishing this.

If you ask Faith what movie she saw last night, she will have a new answer every time. Other than watching movies, she enjoys listening to and collecting music and traveling. Having grown up in the Toronto region, Texas is one stop from the many places she has called home. After her anticipated graduation in Spring 2024, she’s excited to see where life takes her next.

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