Women’s college basketball has significantly increased in popularity over the past year, with players like Caitlin Clark attracting thousands of fans to games. (Credit: John Mac, Flickr.com)

Women’s college basketball players have been killing it — and the sports world is finally taking notice.

Attendance rates at women’s hoops tourneys, which were already off the charts last year, continue to shatter records into 2024. This year’s Big Ten tournament, thanks in large part to Iowa Hawkeyes star Caitlin Clark, attracted 129,512 fans and sold out prior to the event, a first in its 31-year history. 

Even celebrities are tuning in. Just this week, former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal said he’s “only been paying attention to the girls.”

“I hate to say it, but the women players are kicking the men’s butts,” he told People Magazine.

And he’s not wrong. Earlier this month, Clark became the NCAA’s Division-I all-time leading scorer in basketball – male or female. And Louisiana State University Tigers forward Angel Reese was named SEC Player of the Year, following up last year’s NCAA record of 34 double-doubles by racking up 20 more this season.

Amid the excitement of March Madness, here are our favorite inspirational quotes from trailblazing women’s college basketball players. These just might motivate you to shoot your best shot — in sports and life. 


LSU Tigers forward Angel Reese playing in a game against Texas A&M (Credit: LSU Athletics)

“Never feel like you’re too much for somebody. Or you’re too loud. Or you’re too ghetto. Be who you are.” – Angel Reese

At age 21, Reese has already graced a magazine cover, appeared in a music video with Latto and Cardi B, and created a nonprofit. As a forward for the LSU Tigers, she led her team to winning its first national championship last April, was named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 2023, and was awarded the key to her native city Baltimore. Reese also navigated major obstacles, including multiple play injuries, and criticism over her gestures toward Clark at a championship game. Yet, she remains unapologetically herself, sending an important message to Black women and girls everywhere: embrace who you are.


Caitlin Clark playing in a Big Ten tournament against Ohio. (Credit: John Mac, Wikimedia Commons)

“I want my legacy to be the impact that I can have on young kids and the people in Iowa…I was just that young girl, so all you have to do is dream and you can be in moments like this.” – Caitlin Clark

Over the past four years with the Iowa Hawkeyes, Clark’s legendary plays have drawn more attention to women’s college basketball, which many have deemed the “Caitlin Clark effect.” In a recent game against Michigan, Clark broke the NCAA Division I women’s all-time scoring record after finishing the game with 3,569 career points. She also was named Big Ten Player of the Year for the third consecutive season. What’s even more impressive is her willingness to stand up for other players — such as defending opponent Reese amid backlash for her hand gestures. No wonder she has become America’s favorite college basketball star, according to a sports poll.


Paige Bueckers joined the University of Connecticut Huskies in 2020. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Lorie Shaull)

“Some people play the game, some people love the game — but I think I live the game.” – Paige Bueckers

Since Bueckers joined the University of Connecticut Huskies in 2020, she’s been unstoppable. The playing guard recently won Big East Player of the Year for the second time. Playing basketball was this Minnesota native’s dream since age five, and she’s proven she was born to do it. Despite undergoing several surgeries for injuries, Bueckers returned to play last November and led her team to a victorious season. She has also inked deals with Nike, Cash App and other companies. Since “God put a dream in my heart,” Bueckers once said in an Instagram post,” she will continue to reach for the stars.


Cameron Brink (Credit: Cameron Brink Facebook page)

“Yes, you want to perform well and do your best on a big stage, but if you don’t … so be it. You’re loved.” – Cameron Brink

At just 22, this Standford Cardinal forward has some impressive accolades. Rocking her signature braids, Brink won the 2021 national championship, was named Pac-12 Player of the Year, and leads the nation with 3.5 blocks per game. The love of basketball also runs in Brink’s family. Her dad played on the men’s basketball team at Virginia Tech, and Steph Curry is her godbrother. Even more impressive — she’s a huge advocate for mental health, openly discussing her struggles with anxiety to help others. While Brink’s final season is coming to an end, her dreams are far from over: she recently declared for the 2024 WNBA draft. 


“People have inspirations for a reason. I don’t let those pressures get to me to make me feel like I need to be perfect. I’m human, too, and I make mistakes, and that doesn’t take away from what I do and the people I impact.” – Alissa Pili

From the time Pili picked up a basketball in the first grade, she’s never let it go. As a forward for the University of Utah Utes, she’s averaged 20.8 points per game and has racked up 666 points this season. She’s also been given the All-America Third Team nod by The Sport News and USBWA. Pili, who is Native Alaskan and Samoan, is creating more representation for Indigenous people in the sport. Aside from Pili shooting 70.6% overall, per ESPN, her strength, expert footwork and ability to step out of the three-point arc is what makes her “unlike any other player in the nation.”


“When I’m on the court, I’m always playing for something bigger and putting on for my city.” – Judea “Juju” Watkins

As a University of Southern California Trojans guard, Watkins has already made some major moves at just 18. She’s the first Trojan to earn the Associated Press First Team All-America honor and earned the first No.1 seed for her team since 1986. Watkins is also the great-granddaughter of Ted Watkins, the notable civil rights activist. Watkins continues to follow in her great-grandfather’s footsteps, most recently distributing sneakers to high school basketball players. As Watkins heads into her first NCAA Tournament, she is becoming known for her motto: the rose that grew from concrete.


During her freshman year, Rori Harmon led the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns to a 29-7 season. (Credit: The University of Texas at Austin Athletics)

“Basketball is a game of ups and downs, mistakes, and learning from them. It's not just a game; it's a metaphor for life.” – Rori Harmon

As a guard for the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns, Harmon is living the life she always dreamed of. During her freshman year, she led her team to a 29-7 season. She’s also been honored with multiple titles, including the 2021 Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and the 2022 Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player. It probably helped that growing up, her father –  a two-time state champion in high school – was also her coach. Now a sophomore, she’s looking forward to returning to the game, which she has been absent from since suffering a knee injury in December. Her fans anticipate her comeback.