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NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - National Championship

Source: Thien-An Truong/ISI Photos / Getty

The Men’s and Women’s 2024 NCAA March Madness has come to a close, and it did monster numbers… well, at least the women’s competition did.

It was clear this year that with personalities and talented players like Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and Juju Watkins among others, the ladies were the more entertaining bracket to invest your time in.

Now, while social media has proven its entertainment value, ESPN has the statistics to back up just how successful Sunday’s Women’s Championship game between Dawn Staley‘s undefeated South Carolina and Caitlin Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes was. Staley remained undefeated and improved to a 38-0 record, sliding past the Hawkeyes to an 87-75 win.

ESPN reports that nearly 18.7 million people tuned in to the game, making it the second most-watched non-Olympic women’s sporting event on U.S. television, only behind 2015’s Women’s World Cup between the United States and Japan.

“With a record-setting audience of 18.7 million viewers, Sunday’s Iowa-South Carolina title game was a fitting finale to the most-viewed ever NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament,” ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro said. “These exceptional athletes, coaches and teams captured our attention in unprecedented ways and it’s incumbent on all of us to keep the incredible momentum going.”

If the news sounds a bit familiar, it is because the Clark-led Hawkeyes game set a record when they beat UConn in the Final Four on Friday, which had a viewership of 14.2 million. And then again in the big face off against Angel Reese and LSU days prior in the Elite Eight, which drew 12.3 million people.

Despite Staley’s South Carolina team beating Clark’s Hawkeyes, she had to give props for the eyes she brought to the women’s league. She acknowledged that the changing tide of women’s sports is a large responsibility, and she managed it well.

“I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for lifting up our sport. She carried a heavy load for our sport,” Staley said while receiving the trophy. “But when she is the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, she’s gonna lift that league up as well. So Caitlin Clark if you’re out there, you are one of the GOATs of our game. We appreciate you.”

See how social media is reacting to the record-breaking performance below.