Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Holy Cross Crusaders live updates: Caitlin Clark stats, highlights, predictions of NCAA Women’s Tournament round of 64

(Illustration: Dan Goldfarb / The Athletic; Photos of Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark, Hannah Hidalgo: Eakin Howard / Adam Bettcher / Icon Sportswire, Joseph Weiser / Icon Sportswire)

Last spring, I first noticed something special was happening when I couldn’t walk half a block in Dallas without running into large packs of Iowa or South Carolina fans. There were also my guy friends back home who, for the first time, were planning their weekend around the women’s NCAA Tournament games instead of the men’s. And all the sports talk radio channels were discussing Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese. My spidey senses were tingling.

I could feel it in my bones that the sport was primed for a breakthrough moment, though I couldn’t have imagined that nearly 10 million people would tune in for the Iowa-LSU national title game, shattering the previous record for viewership of a women’s basketball game. But I could tell that the barrier of apathy had been broken; these women, that late-game taunting, the sport itself — it’d all be talked about for days and weeks and months to come.

I have the same feeling right now.

Another giant leap is coming for a sport that ought to be growing accustomed to these gains. As we head into March Madness, it is the women’s side of the tournament that is taking center stage. It is the women’s stars who shine the brightest. It is the women’s game with the most intriguing storylines.

And … that’s not even debatable!

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Why March Madness belongs to the women: Star players, big ratings make it tourney to watch

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