Women’s college basketball has seen a spike in popularity, as evidenced by the viewership of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. It has taken the efforts of the entire sport, but the boost is thanks in large part to both the South Carolina Gamecocks and Iowa’s Cailtlyn Clark. And the two sides will face off in Friday’s Final Four.
South Carolina is the defending National Champion, and this year’s version of Dawn Staley’s team is even more dominant than before. The Gamecocks have yet to lose a game this season, and have won their last nine contests by double-digits.
Clark vs. South Carolina In Final Four Will Be Must See
They are led by Aliyah Boston, who is a Wooden Award finalist and is the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, and it projected to be the number one overall pick in the upcoming WNBA Draft.
One of the ladies who will provide competition for the Wooden Award is Caitlyn Clark of Iowa, who has already earned Player of the Year hardware from most of the media outlets. She has been the talk of the tournament, notching the first 40-point triple double in NCAA Tournament history, on both the men’s and women’s side.
— Danny Neckel (@DNeckel19) March 28, 2023
As luck would have it, the two will meet in the Final Four on Friday, and it will likely be the most watched women’s college basketball game in some time, if not ever.
Viewership Up Across Entire Women’s Tournament
ESPN reported that their viewership of the Sweet 16 was up a whopping 73 percent from just a year ago, with an average of 1.2 million households watching each of the 8 games.
But the huge spike in viewership was centered around Caitlyn Clark. The game between her Iowa Hawkeyes and Louisville Cardinals drew nearly 2.5 million viewers, which is more than ESPN has had for any NBA game so far this season. They were tuned in for a treat, as that was the game in which Clark had her historic performance.
South Carolina vs. Iowa for a trip the National Title 👀 pic.twitter.com/0bcM8yI757
— Just Women’s Sports (@justwsports) March 28, 2023
What will she do for an encore? Will she be stifled by the juggernaut that is South Carolina? Or will Clark pull a Final Four miracle and upset the 11.5-point favorites?
All of those questions will draw plenty of intrigue. If there were 2.5 million people tuning in to her game before her 40-point triple double, just imagine how many there will be for her follow-up performance against the nation’s top and most popular team.
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