Andraya Carter Chiney Ogwumike ESPN Screengrab: ‘First Take’ on ESPN

Chiney Ogwumike, on ESPN’s Get Up, called Caitlin Clark the most impactful player women’s basketball has seen in a generation. Ogwumike credits Clark, along with the Iowa Hawkeyes platform, for bringing unprecedented national attention to the women’s game.

And that unprecedented national attention led to Molly Qerim on First Take, who invited Ogwumike and Andraya Carter to discuss what made this year so monumental for women’s sports.

“It was epic for women’s sports because when there were the most eyes on the game, the players continuously delivered with their performances,” said Carter. “And it grew, and it expanded, and people fell in love with it. Every time there was a moment, whether it was Caitlin, whether it was South Carolina, whether it was Hannah Hidalgo or JuJu (Watkins), every time there was a moment — Paige Bueckers — the players delivered. They didn’t let one moment slip. They took advantage of every opportunity.”

“Yeah, maybe 10-15 years ago, ‘Back when I played. Back when we played.’ It was largely the programs and the coaches that were bigger than the game,” added Ogwumike. “Now, it’s the players. And to me, that’s all over the country. And also, it’s the fact that the game’s in a beautiful place. People are talking about Caitlin Clark going to the WNBA. Did y’all see this freshman class with JuJu Watkins, who was No. 2 in scoring under Caitlin Clark, or Hannah Hidalgo? The game is in a healthy place. There are a lot of stars everywhere. And I feel like the landscape really benefits towards the women staying in school and those storylines carrying over.”

Stephen A. Smith wanted to take this conversation a step further.

“You know, when we watch the world of sports, we can’t dismiss the commentary that comes with it,” said the First Take host. “I don’t think football would’ve ever been what it became if not for the great Howard Cossell. I don’t think the Mike Breens and Marv Alberts of the world and my man Gus Johnson, let’s not forget about him, calling NBA basketball games. When we think about football games, we think about Pat Summerall and John Madden, and those guys and what have you.

“I’m bringing all of that up to say that as great as this season was and as great as this NCAA Tournament was, I had the pleasure of who I believe to be two of the best basketball analysts in America in Chiney Ogwumike and Andraya Carter. You guys were phenomenal. And a lot of things that have been done for the sport and them playing the way they played, it was accentuated and illuminated by the way you two performed. You were absolutely sensational. I can’t even tell y’all how proud I am of the job y’all did during this NCAA Tournament. Ya’ll were phenomenal.”

The women’s college basketball season may be over, but the impact of athletes like Clark and insightful analysts like Ogwumike and Carter will resonate for years to come. Their combined efforts have undeniably propelled women’s basketball into the spotlight. And each played a part in this being an epic year for women’s sports.

[Awful Announcing on X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.