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The Most Iconic Moments of the 2024 Women’s Basketball Season

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

2024 was an insanely entertaining and record-breaking season for women’s college basketball. With games like Iowa vs. UConn in the Final Four and Iowa vs. South Carolina in the championship game, viewership records were completely shattered. On the court, players like Iowa’s Caitlin Clark kept us holding our breath during three-pointers, while off the court UConn’s KK Arnold and Paige Bueckers kept us fed with behind-the-scenes TikToks. These women play hard during games but are never afraid to show that their effort and teamwork go beyond the basketball court.

According to Forbes, the NCAA’s women’s championship game was the most-watched basketball game since 2019. The Iowa Hawkeyes vs. South Carolina Gamecocks brought in an average of 18.7 million viewers, with a peak at 24 million. The viewership for the women’s championship crushed the men’s this season, beating them by roughly four million views. This insane number of spectators is proof that when we give female athletes the hype they truly deserve, it pays off.

angel reese’s vogue announcement

An iconic moment from this year’s season was LSU’s Angel Reese announcing that she was declaring for the 2024 WBNA draft in a Vogue photoshoot — plus, the pictures are stunning! Reese has always been a fashion icon and the way she went about her announcement is totally fitting. Despite falling to Iowa State in the Elite Eight, Reese tells Vogue, “I feel like I’m ready.” As her fans, we’re ready to see what the WNBA holds for her.

paige bueckers’ and kk arnold’s tiktoks

Another moment from the season (and my personal favorite) comes from the lovely Huskies of the University of Connecticut. UConn players Paige Bueckers and KK Arnold never failed to engage with audience members through their TikTok videos and Instagram lives. Despite both being guards, Bueckers and Arnold’s opposing personalities play off each other hilariously. They’re a loveable duo on and off the court. If you have any doubts, you can watch Arnold’s impromptu team interview on TikTok. I couldn’t help but laugh as Arnold went around interacting with her teammates. It’s obvious these girls love what they do and the friendships they have with each other help them sincerely connect with their viewers.

paige buecker’s espys speech

Another Husky highlight comes from Buecker’s speech at the 2021 ESPYS. Despite her acceptance speech for the Best College Athlete award being three years old, its significance is increasingly prominent during this 2024 season. In her speech, Bueckers acknowledged the significance of Black women playing in the sport and called out the media for not giving them nearly as much coverage as white players.  

Clips of her speech have come up numerous times on social media this season, especially concerning South Carolina’s win over Iowa. South Carolina being a team of predominantly women of color led by Dawn Staley, a Black woman, proved themselves undefeated in this year’s championship game, yet much of their victory was overshadowed by coverage of Caitlin Clark’s loss.

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark is an impressive player, to say the least. Clark is the NCAA Division 1 top scorer of all time, for women’s and men’s. Despite her eligibility to play a fifth year, Clark announced in February that she would be declaring for the WNBA draft. Her presence on the court is undeniable, even Coach Staley recognized Clark postgame saying, “I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for lifting up our sport. She carried a heavy load for our sport and it’s not going to stop here on the collegiate tour. When she’s the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft she’s going to lift that league up as well.” 

While we can honor Clark’s impact on women’s basketball, it’s important to remember what Bueckers said. Recognizing that basketball is a Black-led sport and calling out the media on their biased coverage of white players is crucial to uplifting the Black women who work just as hard to achieve success in the sport.

gamecocks win

The Gamecocks certainly deserved their win. Going undefeated with 38-0 this season, they were bound to bring some serious heat to the court. The team impressively achieved their victory despite the loss of all their starters from the 2023 season. One teammate who seriously stepped up to the plate was 6’7 senior Kamilla Cardoso. Her buzzer-beater three-pointer saved the Gamecocks from an upset against the Tennessee Volunteers in the SEC tournament semi-finals. You can watch the historic moment for Cardoso and the Gamecocks on ESPN

Behind the Gamecocks’ amazing plays is Coach Staley. Staley has quite literally created a perfect season. Forbes writes that Staley’s focus on teamwork, faith, and ability to adapt is what helped her achieve perfection on the court. She’s known for playing a wide range of players and insisting that even though they may not gain individual recognition throughout the game, they’ll achieve collective recognition through their ability to work together. She also believes in uplifting her team through optimism. Additionally, she recognizes her team’s needs and strengths and adjusts them to fit perfectly into her success strategy. 

This season was full of intense plays, talented players, and major wins and losses. I’m already putting in my predictions for the next season (go Huskies!) and I can’t wait to see what the WNBA holds for the drafted players. This season has shown how well-rounded these women are and that they work insanely hard on and off the court. The stats from this year alone are clear proof that when you invest in women’s sports, it most certainly pays off. 

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Savanna is majoring in English editing, writing, and media at FSU. In her free time she’s picking up a good book, listening to her favorite artists, or spending time with her friends.