© 2024 88.9 KETR
Public Radio for Northeast Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

High-profile NCAA Final Four shows that women's college hoops is on the rise

LSU's Alexis Morris shoots past Iowa's Caitlin Clark during the second half of the NCAA Women's Final Four championship basketball game Sunday in Dallas.
Darron Cummings
LSU's Alexis Morris shoots past Iowa's Caitlin Clark during the second half of the NCAA Women's Final Four championship basketball game Sunday in Dallas.

LSU's national championship victory at the American Airlines Center highlighted a Final Four estimated to have brought $30M to the region's economy.

Dallas continues to prove it does basketball bigger. After one of the most controversial Final Fours in recent history, All-American Angel Reese led Louisiana State University to the program’s first national title. The Tigers defeated Iowa with a record-setting score, 102-85, in this year’s NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship on April 2 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. An estimated 9.9 million viewers watched the broadcast on ESPN+, the most ever to watch any event on that particular ESPN channel, which features college sports. The game was also the most-watched women's college basketball game in history.

After just two seasons at LSU, former Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey stalked the sidelines with her signature sequined outfits to secure another national championship, this time for the Tigers. Iowa was the talk of the tournament thanks to All-American sharpshooter Caitlin Clark. She’ll be back next season, along with her LSU rivals Reese, Flau'jae Johnson and Kateri Poole and a recruiting class of soon-to-be Tigers regarded as the top batch of newcomers in NCAA women’s basketball.

North Texas fans cheered on DeSoto High School's own Sa’Myah Smith, a freshman for LSU, who celebrated the national title in front of frends and supporters. DeSoto mayor Rachel L. Proctor welcomed the Tigers to Desoto High School to practice last week in preparation for the Final Four.

The real winner, however, was women’s college basketball.

The economic impact on the Dallas economy is expected to exceed $30 million dollars as a result of the city’s hosting the championship. Ticket prices outpaced the NCAA Men’s Final Four for the first time in history. Over 350,000 fans attended, setting a new NCAA record. As women’s basketball examines new strategies to tackle the overall gaps in coverage and funding, Dallas will be a catalyst after its second sellout Final Four.

Newly appointed NCAA President Charlie Baker is currently exploring a new television deal for the women’s Final Four. North Texas basketball fans will get another chance to see the top collegiate teams in the nation when Dallas will again host the NCAA Women’s Final Four in 2031.

Lifelong sports fan, Jasmine Baker, has been covering sports for KETR 88.9 since 2016, under the tutelage of Mark Haslett. She's co-hosted the award-winning student produced program 'Lions After Dark' and produced online content covering Lion Athletics. As an undergraduate she began her journalism career writing for student-run campus newspaper The East Texan. Jasmine has covered high school basketball playoffs, college and professional sports in the Dallas Metroplex. Her experience has allowed her to be a guest on various sports talk shows, including guest play-by-play with Charlie Chitwood. In the 2018 WNBA season she covered the Dallas Wings for High Post Hoops.