Women's Basketball Is Having A Moment, But We Need To Check 1 Thing

Coach Dawn Staley made history a few times over when she led the South Carolina Gamecocks to win the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship over the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday, capping off an undefeated season.

That, unfortunately, wasn’t the leading narrative on Monday as sports fans pointed out hypocrisy in coverage. Several outlets elevated the star player of the losing team, Caitlin Clark, over Staley’s unprecedented victory. CNN featured a photo of Clark instead of one of the victorious South Carolina team in its original story before eventually changing it. In Complex’s coverage, a writer asked what was behind the hate for Clark — yet the site’s sports section barely discusses this year’s champions.

There’s a double standard in how we talk about women’s basketball. Journalist Daric L. Cottingham called it out on the latest episode of “I Know That’s Right.”

“There’s so many editorial stories in an undefeated championship basketball team, but [you] have the emphasis and focus be on the star player of the losing team,” she said.

Cottingham also noted that she’s seen this in how pundits and fans talk about former Louisiana State University star Angel Reese, who’s headed to the WNBA draft along with Clark.

“You get Caitlin, who is this star, but then Angel Reese is this showy girl. She’s always ‘too showy,’ she’s ‘too cocky.’ Black women do not get to be confident ... But then I tell you, ‘I’m lowing out, this thing really affected me. I’ve been dealing with a lot of racism.’ [And] now you’re a victim,” she said, referring to the backlash Reese received after sharing her vulnerability at the post-game press conference after LSU’s loss.

Women’s basketball is undoubtedly having a moment. It’s arguably more entertaining than men’s basketball, as seen by the record-breaking viewership numbers for the women’s championship.

It’s a great time in basketball, but we can’t ignore the huge shadow of misogynoir rearing its head as we continue to talk about these athletes.

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