USA Today writer: 'It matters that the faces of the future' of women's college basketball are Black


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A USA Today writer posted an op-ed on Thursday stating that “the Black players who built women’s hoops…haven’t been acknowledged,” and “it matters that the faces of the future look like the faces of the past.”

In the piece, with a headline, “Women’s basketball needs faces of future to be Black,” Lindsay Schnell, an enterprise reporter for the outlet, wrote that JuJu Watkins and Hannah Hidalgo are set to become the future of women’s basketball.

“Not lost on any of the powerbrokers in the game: Both of these players are Black. And in a game built by Black women, it matters that the faces of the future look like the faces of the past,” Schnell wrote.

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JuJu Watkins dribbles

Southern California Trojans guard JuJu Watkins, #12, dribbles the ball against the Colorado Buffaloes during a NCAA college women’s basketball game on Feb. 23, 2024 in Los Angeles. USC defeated Colorado 87-81. (Kirby Lee/Getty Images)

Schnell continued that marketing tactics have centered around Caitlin Clark, Sabrina Ionescu and Paige Bueckers.

“Too often, the Black players who built women’s hoops — and who now dominate the professional level, where the WNBA is 70% Black — haven’t been acknowledged,” she continued.

“Part of that has to do with position. Casual fans fall hard for playmakers, athletes who have the ball in their hands and create shots. Paint players might have great footwork, but that doesn’t usually translate to highlight reels. Consider that power forward A’ja Wilson, arguably the best player in the world, whose award résumé is longer than a Walgreens receipt, doesn’t have near the star power of Clark.”

Hannah Hidalgo

Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Hannah Hidalgo, #3, goes up for a shot in the first half against the Virginia Tech Hokies at the Purcell Pavilion. (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)

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Schnell made note that LSU’s Angel Reese was criticized for the trash talk she handed to Clark during their NCAA title game last year, “though Clark had talked plenty of trash throughout the tournament herself.” Clark later said on ESPN that Reese should not have been criticized “at all.”

In the piece, Watkins is quoted as saying, “Black women have paved the way in this game. So many of them have broken down doors for us today. It’s about time Black women got the recognition they deserve in this sport.”

JuJu Watkins is congratulated by Cheryl Miller

Southern California Trojans guard JuJu Watkins, #32, is congratulated by Cheryl Miller after a NCAA college women’s basketball game against the Colorado Buffaloes on Feb. 23, 2024 in Los Angeles. USC defeated Colorado 87-81. (Kirby Lee/Getty Images)

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Watkins and Hidalgo are on track to play in the women’s March Madness tournament later this month.

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