That's What She Said Feature

That's What She Said: The Year Of Women In Sports

Since turning the page into the new year, we've entered a new chapter that has permanently etched inspiring stories of women in sports into history. 

In just a couple of short months, we've seen females alter the course and become recognizable faces and forces in the basketball, hockey and football realms. 

It's been generations battling the relentless fight for the demand and equality of women's sports. A few short years ago, these changes seemed inconceivable. But, they were always imaginable and that's what kept the advocacy from being silenced.

best women in sports moments of 2024

From female athletes to female fans, here's all the anticipated, historic moments to remember:

PWHL Passion Shows up in the stands

The new professional women's hockey league wasted no time trying to bridge the gender gap in sports, playing their inaugural game on the first day of the new year. Over 2,500 people came to show their support at the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens. Most critics would say the turnout wasn't sustainable and that the excitement would eventually die down -- guess again. 

Since that day, attendance records continue to be shattered. Minnesota's first home game proved why it was the State Of Hockey when 13,316 filled the crowd. Women and men of all ages were decked in PWHL merchandise and young, hopeful girls clasped onto handcrafted posters with phrases of endearment.

"Future PWHL Hockey Player."

"Play For The Girls Who Dressed In Storage Rooms."

"Play Like A Girl."

"Making Her-Story."

But, it doesn't stop there. 

A deep-rooted rivalry was sparked in the PWHL as Scotiabank Arena hosted the first Battle On Bay Street between Toronto and Montreal. A sold-out crowd flooded the stands and 19,285 relentlessly roared as coaches got alerts from their devices that the environment was too loud.

Toronto's 3-0 shutout became the highest-attended women's hockey game -- ever. The crowd overwhelmingly exceeded the previous high of 18,013 during the 2013 women's world championship meeting between Finland and Canada. 

Before the quotes were "history has been made in women's hockey." But now, we're constantly having to tag "once again" at the beginning of that sentence. 

can't keep up with caitlin clark

When it comes to glass ceilings in college basketball, Caitlin Clark simply sees through them. Viewership skyrocketed during last year's March Madness when the women's championship audience peaked at 12.6 million. The season that followed seemed limitless as the Caitlin Clark effect flourished. 

Recently destroying the all-time women's college basketball scoring record with a career-high 49-point outing, Clark has singlehandedly inflated the demand for the collegiate sport. Hundreds line up willing to pay hundreds to witness her greatness. The monumental showcase had the average ticket costing over $300, making it the most expensive women's basketball game at the college and professional level. 

Clark takes being a woman in sports a step further by completely blurring the lines. The 21-year-old's 32.4 PPG puts her on pace to snap Pete Maravich's all-time D-1 scoring record, sitting less than a hundred points away from the task. 

Blocking out the noise and embodying her position as the new generation's role model is what Clark excels at off the court. For her, it's obvious there's no distinction of "playing like a girl". Instead, she just plays.

sabrina ionescu shows to never back down to the men

Last summer had people chatting after Sabrina Ionescu dropped 37 points in a three-point competition, setting new records for the WNBA and NBA all-star games. Jaws were on the floor as the 26-year-old sunk 20 straight points.

This February, the New York Liberty star was invited to a personalized Stephen vs Sabrina three-pointer showdown. Ionescu wasn't intimidated, shooting from the NBA-designated three-pointer arc. Her 26 points fell short of Curry's 29, but still tied Damian Lillard's score in the actual 2024 three-point competition that was held later that night. 

The final score ultimately isn't what mattered (though I would've loved to have seen Ionescu wipe the court with Curry). The bigger picture was emphasized once the segment was over. Again and again, there is a place for women's sports.

swift and kelce's relationship ripple effects

There are plenty of opinions on the Swift takeover in the NFL this season. Though I hope you've clued in that the league made multi-millions off broadcasting her and that the media tornado wasn't her choice. But, regardless, a new fanbase was born and got to experience the indescribable thrill, nerves and whirlwind of emotions of watching their favorite team's route to a championship (lucky jerks!).

Aside from being petty that I continue to be backstabbed by my Dallas Cowboys, there was something else that resonated with me throughout this storyline. Cultivating a relationship with your dad through sports is one I can relate to. Witnessing little girls sitting patiently through four quarters, hoping to catch a glimpse of their idol just separated time from mundane routine to allow special bonds to be formed. 

All it takes is one season and you're hooked. Then, it'll develop into buying tickets to experience the stadium atmosphere together or the excitement of discussing breaking news and game recaps. Finally, you'll be whining about how Dak Prescott just isn't the guy over Christmas dinner -- but that's an article for another week.

So, whether it was a husband and wife getting closer, a brother and sister finding common ground or a dad bonding with his daughter -- connections were made and memories will be cherished.  

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