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Becker: Excuses to avoid watching women’s basketball are getting flimsier

| Wednesday, February 6, 2019

After the most painful-to-watch Super Bowl in recent memory, I figured the time was once again ripe to point out my favorite obvious fact: Criticisms of women’s basketball are nothing more than sexist excuses not to watch women succeed at a sport.

The number of people (let’s be honest, predominantly men) who say women’s basketball isn’t worth watching because it’s boring, the offense is less entertaining than it is in men’s basketball and “UConn will end up winning it all anyway” is absurd. These claims are even more ridiculous when you take a few things into account.

Golden State vs. Cleveland, Clemson vs. Alabama, New England vs. anyone

Yes, Connecticut won the NCAAW title four years in a row, from 2013 to 2016. But the Huskies haven’t even appeared in the title game for the past two tournaments, losing in the semifinals both times.

Meanwhile, over in the NBA, Steph Curry and the Warriors look primed to head to a fifth-straight NBA title series, and with LeBron now with the struggling Lakers, it looks like Golden State won’t have to worry about those pesky Cavaliers — for the first time in four years. Some basketball fans apparently can’t stand to watch a team of women build a dynasty but have no problem with watching the same two teams meet in the NBA Finals four times in a row — with the team that employs a 3-point heavy offensive scheme winning the title three times, by the way.

Or how about college football? Should we all not bother to tune in because we all know Clemson and Alabama are going to meet in the College Football Playoff anyway? In fact, aside from the appearance of Notre Dame rather than Georgia, this year’s playoff teams were exactly the same as last year’s. Yet somehow I didn’t hear the same people who claim women’s basketball is not worth watching say the same thing about NCAA football.

And seriously, if you’re willing to watch Bill Belichick win six Super Bowls in nine appearances with the same quarterback over the past two decades, you can get over Geno Auriemma doing pretty much the same thing with a greater variety of players in women’s college basketball.

Virginia Tech 47, North Carolina State 24

Offensive inefficiency and lack of scoring excitement are bad arguments against women’s basketball.

Just one day before the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in NFL history, NC State posted the lowest score in NCAA men’s basketball since the implementation of the shot clock. Sure, you could post a 30-second clip on Twitter of a bad offensive series from a women’s basketball team and mock that, or you could just take a look at the stat lines from this game.

The Wolfpack only put up 14 points in the first half and 10 in the second, shooting 16.7 percent from the floor. They were ranked No. 23 at the time. And it’s not like then-No. 12 Virginia Tech shot lights-out. The Hokies only scored their 47 points on 36 percent shooting for the game.

Many top-25 women’s college basketball teams often put up 24 points by the end of the first quarter and 47 by the end of the half. But yeah, men’s basketball is unquestionably superior 100 percent of the time.

Women’s basketball is great simply on its own merit

All that having been said, you don’t have to take away from another sport to recognize how much fun women’s basketball is to watch.

Last year’s NCAAW Final Four was unbelievably thrilling, with both semifinal games going into overtime (after another had done so the year before) and two of the three games — including the national championship — ending on clutch buzzer-beaters. If you didn’t watch it just because you have some twisted idea that men are superior to women, you missed out.

And individual players are also exciting to watch. Aside from Arike Ogunbowale and her propensity to make buzzer-beating 3-pointers, Asia Durr is another ACC guard who is electric on the court. She led Louisville to its recent win over UConn — the Huskies’ second loss of the season, by the way — playing all 40 minutes of the game.

Sabrina Ionescu of Oregon currently holds the NCAA record — men’s and women’s — for triple-doubles with 15. She’s already broken her own record twice.

Teaira McCowan has 58 blocks on the season for Mississippi State and is averaging a double-double. The ferocity she plays with and her celebrations after a play are also super entertaining.

And Grambling State’s Shakyla Hill just notched her second-career quadruple-double last weekend. For context, there has only been one quadruple-double in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history.

If you’re still dismissing women’s basketball, you need to rethink your reasons. Some of the greatest athletes in the country are doing some amazing things in that arena, and because they’re women is no excuse not to watch.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Courtney Becker

Courtney is a senior from New York City majoring in film, television and theater with a minor in journalism, who recently wrapped up her year as Editor-in-Chief. She is a former resident of Pasquerilla West Hall and a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

Contact Courtney