Opinion — Women’s NCAA Championship viewership up from 2022


Photo courtesy of ESPN

LSU WINS – LSU won the Women’s NCAA Championship against Iowa 102-85. LSU star Angel Reese had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the routing of Iowa. Hawkeye’s star guard Caitlin Clark had 30 points and eight assists in the loss.

Chris Anderson

This year’s Women’s D1 NCAA basketball tournament was one for the record books, with a record 9.9 million viewers on average tuning in for the championship game, peaking at 12.6 million viewers. That number is up over 100% from last year’s national championship between powerhouses South Carolina and UConn, with that game bringing in an average of 4.85 million people.

The men’s NCAA tournament, in contrast, brought in a record low of 14.7 million viewers, with UConn and San Diego State headlining the championship. This number is down 17% from last year’s Kansas vs. North Carolina championship game.

With Iowa star Caitlin Clark and LSU star Angel Reese putting on a show throughout the entire women’s tournament, the two were on a crash course from the beginning. I must say, this was one of the most exciting tournament runs I have ever seen. 

Clark, Iowa’s point guard, is the only player — men’s or women’s — to have a 41-point triple-double in a tournament game. Clark also stopped the top-ranked South Carolina team that was on a 42-game win streak and 36-0 on the season, with another monster 41-point game to lead Iowa to its first national championship.

Clark had a spectacular season, averaging 27 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, which led her to win the NCAA Player of the Year award. Clark also earned all other major awards given to outstanding players.

Reese, LSU’s power forward, had a monster season as well, recording over 34 double-doubles, which set the NCAA single-season record. Reese averaged 23 points and 15 rebounds on the season, helping lead LSU to a 102-85 win over the Hawkeyes in the championship. Reese also won Player of the Tournament for her dominant run.

Despite all the recent controversy over the competitive nature of the tournament championship, all the attention paid to the sport of women’s basketball — thanks in part to Clark and Reese — is great for future competitors. 

Besides, it’s all fun and games. The fact that these two players are taking over the game, along with many other star athletes spread out around the league, is only making the sport better for future athletes.

I think this is a great step forward for women’s basketball, especially with increased wages for their outstanding performances along with adequate media and sponsorship deals. With talents like Clark and Reese headed to the WNBA soon, and people seeing just how good they are, fans of all ages will continue to be in awe because of what they bring to the court. The two are generational talents.

With the show the two put on throughout the season, culminating in the championship face-off, I am thrilled to know that they both have one more year ahead of them before they are draft eligible. LSU and Iowa will surely be two highly ranked teams next season and will likely be favored for another match although the transfer portal could play a huge part for any team next season.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.