Women's March Madness: 5 Players to Watch

Getty Images

If you’re not watching women’s March Madness basketball this year, you’re doing it wrong. Even legendary basketball star Shaquille O’Neal agrees.

"I haven't even been paying attention to the guys, only been paying attention to the girls," he said in an interview with People. "I hate to say it, but the women players are kicking the men's butts.”

March Madness, run by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), kicked off March 19 with the Sweet Sixteen round set for March 29 and the final round scheduled for April 7. While the focus is typically on the male athletes, this year it’s all about the women.

The 2023-2024 season was the most-watched women’s college basketball ever across several platforms and networks. On ESPN alone, viewers watched more than 2.6 billion minutes of live women’s NCAA games.

ESPN experts marked South Carolina as the overwhelming favorite to win it all, but with weeks to go until the finals, there’s no telling what could happen. Whether or not you have a team you’re rooting for, or you’re brand new to the game, there’s tons of talent in this year’s competition.

Below, we rounded up five must-watch players during this year's women's March Madness.

Caitlin Clark

Arguably the best collegiate player in the game right now is Iowa Hawkeyes point guard Caitlin Clark. The senior not only runs the number 1 offense in the NCAA, she’s ESPN’s top player of 2024 and the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer in the history of the program—both men and women.

In addition to her numerous accolades (seriously, just Google how many she has!), Clark broke the Division 1 single-season record for three-pointers and the all-time conference record in assists. She is currently favored to be the number 1 pick for the WNBA and has become so popular that even country star Tim McGraw was spotted wearing her jersey at a recent concert. Many tout her competitive play as the reason Women’s NCAA has grown so rapidly over the past four years.

Juju Watkins

ESPN’s National Freshman of the Year, Juju Watkins is a force to be reckoned with. The University of Southern California guard is the Trojans secret weapon thanks to her impressive step-back shot. She’s poised to take over Clark’s number one spot next season and has been lauded as restoring USC women’s basketball back to its former glory. In the first half of her freshman season, she broke USC’s record for 30-point games and is set to only further her legacy over the next three years.

Cameron Brink

Stanford senior Cameron Brink’s college career has been nothing short of amazing. She has dozens of accolades and accomplishments to her name, including helping Stanford win their first NCAA tournament since 1992—her freshman year. The six-foot-four power forward is a highly competitive player that doesn’t ignore the impact of good defense. It’s her discipline and well-roundedness that make this Cardinal one to watch during her final March Madness appearance.

Angel Reese

A favorite of fellow Louisiana State University basketball alum Shaq, Angel Reese is a junior who can’t be stopped. She is using her skills as a forward (she currently ranks second in Division I rebounding) to help the Tigers defend their national championship this year. In 2023, she was named NCAA’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player, a title she hopes to maintain this March Maddness.

Hannah Hidalgo

Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish darling Hannah Hidalgo is one of a handful of Latinas in college basketball. Of Puerto Rican and Black descent, Hidalgo is only a freshman, but she’s already proven herself a megastar on the court. She currently ranks third in Division I scoring average, first in steals, and eleventh in Power 5 player assists, according to ESPN. She was also MVP of the ACC tournament, where she helped lead her team to victory.

Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue