In recent years, NCAA Women’s Basketball has experienced spectacular growth. It has developed as the main product of the NCAA, particularly in the NIL era. Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark, for example, have become national celebrities. The Final Four and the National Championship Game on ESPN dwarfed all NBA games on the network this season in terms of viewership. Women’s basketball is now popular.
So how to capitalize on it? With the world watching, what steps do you take to avoid a slump or plateau in interest? Players stay in college longer thanks to the money, visibility, and networking they can achieve through NIL. That’s something the NCAA, an organization that has often been slow to capitalize on trends in the past, can’t afford to ignore. However, an announcement on Wednesday indicates that the NCAA is taking proactive steps.
South Carolina will face Notre Dame in France
Remarkable? Oui ????????https://t.co/FLT0ZXfdRi
— South Carolina Women’s Basketball (@GamecockWBB)
In announcements made by the two schools, it was revealed that the 2023-24 women’s basketball season would open on November 6 with a matchup between South Carolina and Notre Dame. However, this matchup between two powerful programs will not take place in Columbia or South Bend. Instead, the two teams will meet in Paris, France. It will be the first NCAA basketball to be played in Paris. Previously, the NCAA has had modest success hosting its first college football game in Dublin, Ireland.
While not an LSU-Iowa rematch, it does feature two exciting women’s basketball programs. South Carolina’s 2021 national champions are in something of a transition period following the graduation of their lauded 2019 recruiting class. 5 of those players were drafted into the WNBA earlier this week. Meanwhile, Notre Dame is figuring out its new identity under fourth-year head coach Niele Ivey. Seeded three at March Madness last month, they fell in the Sweet Sixteen to two-seeded Maryland. Both sides are likely to be top 10 pre-season teams and strong seasons could see both emerge as title contenders. South Carolina has never beaten Notre Dame, currently going 0-3 against the Irish. However, the event should be taken as a sign of things to come for women’s college basketball.