Beyond Caitlin Clark: Exciting Storylines to Watch in the Women’s NCAA Tournament..

If the script for March Madness plays out, Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes might face a heartbreaking exit before reaching the Final Four, much like Zion Williamson and Duke in 2019. However, unlike the men’s 2019 tournament which resulted in an unremarkable semifinal lineup with Virginia, Texas Tech, Michigan State, and Auburn, the women’s tournament this year is packed with talent, intriguing storylines, hall-of-fame coaches, and enough star power to overshadow any potential upsets, even if Iowa doesn’t make it through.


If Clark manages to lead Iowa to a national championship in her final college season, it would be a cinematic story worthy of a Disney movie by the end of 2024. Her journey, filled with numerous awards, record-setting performances, and a massive fan following, capped by overcoming last season’s championship game loss, would be one of the greatest achievements in sports.

However, such fairy-tale endings are rare in March. Just ask Coach K and 2022 Duke. Additionally, Iowa needs Molly Davis to recover from her knee injury to have a fighting chance.

The real strength of this season’s women’s game lies beyond just Clark and the Hawkeyes. Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer surpassed Mike Krzyzewski’s record for most wins, with star player Cameron Brink leading the team. UConn’s Geno Auriemma also passed Krzyzewski, and with Paige Bueckers returning, UConn is a team to watch both this tournament and next year.

South Carolina, led by Dawn Staley, is another formidable team, finishing the regular season undefeated with a completely new starting lineup from last year’s Final Four team. Since the 2019-2020 season, South Carolina has lost only nine games.

LSU, the reigning champions, is also in the spotlight. While Iowa and South Carolina are highly talked about, LSU, with players like Angel Reese and Hailey Van Lith, and coached by Kim Mulkey, offers a fascinating narrative. Reese, the second-most popular player, had an unexplained absence for a few games this season, adding to the intrigue.

Lastly, USC’s freshman JuJu Watkins, possibly the best player in college hoops, has the potential to shine in the tournament. The Trojans, ranked in the Top 5, play most of their games on the West Coast and lesser-known networks, but Watkins’ scoring prowess makes them a strong contender for a deep tournament run.

As conference tournaments kick off, the excitement of March Madness is officially here. It’s important to recognize the numerous talented players and compelling stories that have defined this season, promising an exciting tournament regardless of who emerges as the champion.

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