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The Blue and White

There is No “I” in Team

NCAA women’s basketball is not run by a single player
Orla Maxcy ’25


Caitlin Clark, Face of Women’s NCAA College Basketball. Caitlin Clark, Role Model for young girls playing basketball. Caitlin Clark, Arguably the G.O.A.T of college women’s basketball. These are just some of the headlines that flood media coverage for the NCAA college women’s basketball postseason tournament. 

However, the media putting all of women’s Collegiate basketball on Caitlin Clark’s shoulders is not only unfair to her, but to some of the unnamed athletes who deserve their recognition and time in the spotlight.  

Caitlin Clark committed to the Iowa Hawkeyes Women’s Basketball team in 2020. In her debut collegiate game, she recorded 27 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in a 96-81 win over North Northern Iowa. In her second game, she recorded her first double-double with 30 points and 13 assists in a 103-97 victory over Drake. 

 Though, she was already a force to be reckoned with. In high school, she won two gold medals with the U19 Team USA and the U19 FIFA World Cup alongside the 2024 BIG EAST Player of the Year and 2024 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Paige Bueckers. 

When asked how many college women’s basketball players AFS students could name, only two names stood out. Caitlin Clark, and Angel Reese. Angel Reese is the 2024 SEC Player of the Year, made All-SEC First Team, and All-SEC Defensive Team, and is a 2023 NCAA National Champion. Yet, she is most known for her “ taunting”  John Cena “You Can’t See Me” and ring gesture toward Caitlin Clark in the NCAA Championship game last year. 

In the 2023 Elite 8 Iowa vs. Louisville game, Caitlin Clark hit her 6th 3-pointer of the game, and celebrated by doing the iconic John Cena “You Can’t See Me” face toward her opponent, stating that she is unstoppable. 

She received praise from John Cena, LeBron, and Dick Vitale. Yet when Angel Reese reenacted the same gesture, she received backlash from the media, despite just winning a national championship. 

In response, Reese said, “I don’t fit the narrative, I don’t fit the box that y’all want me to be in.” 

Reese claims that all year she was receiving backlash from the media because she was “too hood,” or “too ghetto,” and even calls out the fact of the double standard between black and white women athletes. Last year, she averaged around 23 points and 15 rebounds, and in the 2024 season,, she averaged around 18 points and 13 rebounds. 

After a tough battle between the birds, the Hawkeyes persevered against the Cardinals 97 to 83, to move on to the Final Four to play the South Carolina Gamecocks. 

During that game, a game clip went viral after Caitlin Clark waved off player Raven Johnson, feeling the need not to guard her as she thought Johnson would not shoot the three. 

That game ended 77-73 Iowa Hawkeyes. In a post-game interview, Johnson was bombarded by interviewers who only had one question for her, “how was she feeling?” Her eyes swelled up with tears, and her voice shaky from the devastating loss, she answered “ it hurts.” 

This year, she turned her pain and sadness into motivation. When asked about the difference between 2023 Johnson, and 2024 Johnson, she said, “ I am taking more shots this year. And seeing the ball go in boosts my confidence, and seeing my teammates take shots, the ball goes in, also boosts my confidence.” 

Even though her statistics are a little low, her court action surely does not go unnoticed. In the rival match between Iowa and South Carolina, her defensive play shined through. With two steals and a block against Caitlin Clark, she changed not only her team’s morale but the morale of Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes. 

Johnson’s lockdown defense on the star player was one of the reasons that South Carolina won this year’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. From tears on a pillow last year, to tears of joy on the biggest stage of women’s college basketball, Raven Johnson can tell one of the greatest motivational and player development stories there is to tell. 

Another player with an impeccable story from the South Carolina Gamecocks is center, Kamilla Cadorso. Born in Montes Claros, Brazil, she chased her dream of playing basketball by moving to the United States In 2016, all by herself. 

Having no family in the US,  coach Kesha Hunt of Hamilton High Highschool became a support system for her on and off the court. In her senior year, Cadorso was averaging 24 points and 17 rebounds, which led her to be ranked 5th overall by ESPN. 

She committed to Syracuse where she was the highest-ranked recruit in program history. In her time there, she was named Freshman ACC Player of the Year, and ACC Defensive Player of the Year Honor. 

She then transferred her sophomore year to South Carolina, where she would be taken under the wing of center Aaliyah Boston for the next two years. In her senior year, she was named Defensive Player of the Year in March of 2024. 

Her coach Dawn Staley recognized the sacrifices she made to get herself to the position where she is now, and so to honor her, she surprised her with the two most special people in Cadorso’s life, her mother and her sister. 

The surprise allowed her mother and her sister to watch her make history as Cardoso won her second NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and was named MOP of the tournament. Now, she has declared for the WNBA  draft with her story just beginning. 

These are just some of the names that are changing the evolution of NCAA Women’s Basketball. Except, the story doesn’t start here. Their story and history in College women’s basketball would not have been possible if it wasn’t for all the women before them that paved the way. 

In the 1980s, Cheryl Miller led the University of Southern California to back-to-back National titles and was named Most Valuable Player during her freshman and sophomore years. In the summer of 1984, She led Team USA in the Olympics to their first-ever win In Los Angeles California.

Another powerhouse player of the late 1980s was USC’s Cynthia Cooper. She led the “Ladies of Troy” to back-to-back national titles in 1983 and 1984. Although she did not graduate, she finished her college career as a finalist in the 1986 NCAA Tournament and was a part of the All-Tournament Final Four Team. 

 In the 1990s, University of Tennessee’s Chamique Holdsclaw led them to three consecutive NCAA wins, which was a first in program history. She also helped break NCAA records in 1998, ending the season 39-0, which was the most wins in NCAA history. She finished her career with 3,025  points and 1,295 rebounds, making her the lead scorer and rebounder of Tennessee’s men’s and women’s college basketball. She also holds two consecutive Naismith Player of the Year Awards (1998 and 1999). 

Teammates Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird were a part of UConn’s 2000s dynasty as they helped lead them to three consecutive NCAA titles.  In the late 2000s,  Maya Moore made a name for herself.

Moore led her team to an undefeated 39-0 season and a 2009 national championship, where she won AP Player of the Year,  Naismith College Player of the Year,  USBWA National Player of the Year, John R Wooden Award, and the Wade trophy. After she graduated, she was the first overall WNBA pick in 2011 and became the first female basketball player to sign with the Jordan Brand. 

In the 2010s, another star arose. Some argue that she is G.O.A.T of college women’s basketball. 4x NCAA champion, 4x MOP, 3x National Player of the Year, and UConn’s second all-time leading scorer at 2,676 points and 1,179 rebounds, Breanna Stewart.

Caitlin Clark did not pave the way for women’s college basketball. Caitlin Clark is not the only role model young girls have to look up to for women’s basketball. Clark is simply just raising the standards and competitiveness of college basketball. As all of these women continue their journey and dream of playing basketball, they are walking down the paved road with all of these incredible women standing behind.

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  • A

    Amani ShakurMay 15, 2024 at 9:03 am

    I have always enjoyed watching women’s college basketball, but Caitlin Clark and others like Angel Reese, Camilia Cadorso, and Paige Bueckers, have made it way more exciting. Caitlin Clark deserves all of her recognition because she has put the work in, and I think she is the main reason why so many more people watched Women’s March Madness this year. I agree with the statement that “There is no “I” in team” because South Carolina, won the championship and had such a good season, because they all equally played as a team and didn’t rely on one single player. Caitlin continues to make a significant impact on women’s basketball and I don’t think that Iowa would have made it so far without her. Iowa has other great players but I think they play based on how Caitlin is playing, and when Caitlin isn’t hitting as many of her shots, the rest of the team isn’t and they don’t play together. South Carolina has a lot of talent and a better team overall which is why I agree that “There is no “I” in team” because I think their team displays that statement.

  • R

    Remy AlperMay 8, 2024 at 7:47 am

    There is no “I” in the team-

    I do agree with the perspective of this article because ive been watching women’s basketball recently and started to become very interested in it. In the final 4 game with Uconn v Iowa Caitlyn Clark had scored 21 points for her team which was crazy. I do think that Caitlyn Clark has had a significant impact on attention to women’s basketball which many of her videos on TikTok going viral, and many people have been watching her, but I do agree with the fact that she is not the only role model and that there are many other young girls out there that have a lot to look forward to with Womens basketball. There are many more incredible, talented women out there that are just getting ready to make their path in Womens Basketball.

  • J

    JohnMay 6, 2024 at 7:49 am

    I see no issue with competition. I believe there are other great players than Caitlin and Reese, however, it is normal in all sports for the few greatest players to receive the majority of the publicity. Caitlin Clark puts up an average of more than 30 ppg. Other women are coming close, such as Juju who puts up around 25 ppg, however, no one is scoring at the same level as Caitlin. I think other stories are important, but when someone is playing the game that impressively, all the media people want an interview or a statement from the best player in the league. When another woman starts outscoring her and putting up numbers she can’t, she too will lose her time in the spotlight.

  • L

    Luca LMay 6, 2024 at 7:40 am

    I do think that libraries are really important, especially for those who need to get work done or just want to gain more knowledge or learn about something. I have used libraries inside and outside of school, and I think they are a great way for those who may not enough money or resources to read books. I do think that there has been a recent decline in the popularity of libraries. There may be many reasons why, but I do think since technology is much more advanced than before, people are able to gain access to books digitally. It is much easier and more convent for some people to read digitally. I also think that the recent trend of audiobooks has also played a factor in the declining popularity of libraries.

  • R

    Rihanna W.May 6, 2024 at 7:39 am

    I strongly agree with the perspective of this article. The last paragraph stated, “Caitlin Clark did not pave the way for women’s college basketball. Caitlin Clark is not the only role model young girls have to look up to for women’s basketball. Clark is simply just raising the standards and competitiveness of college basketball. As all of these women continue their journey and dream of playing basketball, they are walking down the paved road with all of these incredible women standing behind.” alone is a powerful message. As a women’s basketball sports fan, I’ve witnessed the up climb of women’s basketball and it’s beautiful to witness in live action. I believe representation in sports is so important for the youth to see with their own eyes. Allows that paved path of endless talent and hard work to be walked down with ease for the future generations to come. As young girls and young boys see someone on television who may look like them and find a sense of comfort. I think it is crazy to solely put all the hype and praise on Caitlin Clark, when so many other women athletes in all sports are doing so many amazing things presently. The development of women’s sports in the past year definitely is breaking down barriers and creating history for the future.

  • E

    Ethan FarmaMay 6, 2024 at 7:34 am

    I feel like in most situations there’s no “I” in team, the only aspect of it when there is, is if it’s an individual sport, like tennis or golf. The reason I say this is that although maybe in high school and college, they might be team sports but the players have to play as a singular person. The only reason I say this is that for the team to win a game, one team needs to win 3 points at least, hence singular players have to win on their own. Other than instances like these, there is no way of saying that there is “I” in a team-based sport. If you have to work together, you aren’t playing alone. Even if you are the head of the team or the lead scorer there is a team aspect as your teammates helped you get to that level. This is why there are only specific circumstances where there could be an “I” in a sport.

  • K

    KamaniMay 6, 2024 at 7:33 am

    “There is no “I” In Team.”

    I have been watching more women’s basketball over this past year. I feel that I was into women’s basketball because Catlin Clack was very skilled. When I would watch her I would be blown away at the fact that she was just there toying with this other girl, and I feel that’s the way is why she made women’s basketball such a big thing this year. But I wouldn’t just hand it all to Catlin Clack even though she was the most impactful. Angel Reese and Juju Watkins also played a big factor me watching women’s college basketball because of their skills and looks. they were both able to be a dog on the court while looking good doing it. In my opinion, those are the 3 female basketball players who made the most impact this year carried the torch, and held the spotlight for women’s basketball as a whole.

  • J

    Jermaine BrockingtonMay 6, 2024 at 7:32 am

    Recently, I’ve been watching more women’s basketball than normally, especially the NCAA and I think Caitlyn Clark is a big reason why people have been tuning in to women’s basketball more recently. Her record-breaking performances and historical nights are what bring people’s attention to women’s basketball. It’s like every night she’s breaking a new record. Although Caitlyn Clark is one of the biggest names in women’s basketball and probably basketball as a whole right now, she is not the only reason women’s basketball is getting the amount of attention lately. Another big piece of that is the LSU’s women’s basketball team. More specifically Angel Reese and Flaujae Johnson. People hate the way they carry themselves and love to hate when they accomplish something. They say that their style is unprofessional and that they wouldn’t be able to do that at the next level. What I’m saying is their actions bring people to their sport whether it’s positively or negatively. I think this past women’s college basketball season has paved the way for a lot of young girls and has also brought so much to basketball for women.

  • L

    Luca LMay 6, 2024 at 7:31 am

    For me personally, I don’t think there is a “I” in team, however I do think that one person can have a significant impact on the game enough where they are really the only ones who do anything in their power to win. I haven’t payed attention to women’s basketball recently but I’m aware of the recent rise of popularity and viewership. I do think that Caitlin Clark has had a significant impact on the attention of women’s basketball. I think it does raise the point that one player on the team may be the deciding factor in the game. If it wasn’t for her, Iowa would not have made it that far in the tournament. So I do think there are some instances where you could say there is a “I” in team.