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Embracing the Madness: Women's NCAA Tournament Predictions and Results

By Aayan Ahmed and Sahir Bhatia

The recently concluded Women’s NCAA basketball tournament jostled much response amongst students and faculty at NHP. Breaking women’s basketball viewership records in the United States, the games featured highly-marketed players, last second thrillers, and historic milestones, captivating audiences nationwide. The tournament was the showcase of the best talent in women’s collegiate basketball. 

Heading into the tournament, there was a plethora of discussions on the results of the final four and the national championship game. Tournament favorites were South Carolina, Iowa, LSU, the previous year's champions, and Stanford. The higher seeded teams strove to make runs and continue their success from the regular season, whilst some lower seeded teams sought to etch their names in the history of March Madness “Cinderella” runs. 

Students at NHP were thrilled for Women’s March Madness and had varying opinions on what teams would take it all the way and those whose seasons would be cut short. 

“LSU is bound to go back-back,” junior Simon Thomas said. “ Their team is spearheaded by one of the most talented trios in the country, Hailey Van Lith, Flau’jae Johnson, and Angel Reese.”

“South Carolina is coached by Dawn Staley, one of the best to ever do it,” junior Ava Orbon said. “She’s won two championships already (2017 & 2022). South Carolina is 16-0 in the conference and nothing's going to stop them.”

Source by Zahra Mazkur

Students at NHP all have different opinions on who will win it all for March Madness.

Iowa had been the tournament runner up the previous year, and Clark had been breaking NCAA records throughout the season. Clark was named preseason Big Ten Player of the Year. In her senior season, she became the all-time NCAA Division I men’s and women’s scoring leader, passing Diana Taurasi for the most career 3-pt FG in NCAA tournament history, won her second consecutive Wooden Award, Naismith Player of the Year, AP Player of the Year, as well as achieving numerous other accolades. Students acclaim Clark as one of the best players in the tournament due to her shooting and playmaking ability. 

“I believe Iowa will go all the way this year; Caitlin Clark is a dominant force and they have a solid supporting cast which can win it all,” junior Alex Tomalski said. 

The final four came down to UConn vs. Iowa, and South Carolina vs. NC State. South Carolina cruised past NC State with a 78-59 victory and Iowa won their battle with UConn, though not without a fight from superstar Paige Bueckers and UConn. The championship game was set between two number one seeds, South Carolina and Iowa. South Carolina, coached by Dawn Staley, was propelled by senior Kamilla Cardoso with 15 points and 17 rebounds, as they defeated Iowa and Clark, despite her 30 point effort. This women’s championship game between South Carolina and Iowa brought a record-setting 18.87 million viewers on ABC and ESPN– the most watched basketball contest of any kind in five years.

Students at NHP praise the influence that the 2024 NCAA’s Women’s March Madness had on women's basketball, changing the narrative surrounding it. 

“To see so many of my friends discussing the women’s game and arguing just like how they do in the men’s game really shows that women’s basketball is making a rise amongst the general public,” junior Danyal Alimosa-Saud said. 

The WNBA draft on April 15, 2024, was headlined by Iowa guard Clark, who was the first overall pick, Stanford forward Cameron Brink, South Carolina center Cardoso, Tennessee forward Rickea Jackson and LSU forward Angel Reese. All top prospects were participants in the historic 2024 Women’s March Madness tournaments and were praised by NHP fans as those who changed the narrative for women’s basketball. 


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