Plays like a girl: Clark, Reese bringing new heights to Women’s Basketball

By Nicholas Paul

Plays like a girl.

Anyone who hears it knows the term is intended to mean that a player is weak, scared and inferior.

Women’s sports in general have usually been overshadowed when compared to their male counterparts. This script for women’s basketball, however, is being re-written largely due to rising women’s basketball stars like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese

Iowa Hawkeyes star Caitlin Clark (Photo courtesy vantanzen on Wallpapercave)

Athletes at any level face pressures that come along with playing their sport, but female players deal with unique challenges that their male equivalents often do not. 

Head Coach of the Sheridan Bruins Women’s Basketball team, Sean Douglas, sees this play out regularly.

“I think female players are feeling a lot of pressure to be their authentic self while playing. You can watch NBA games and you can see these guys talk trash and do things that nobody bats an eye to. But when Angel Reese does it, or Caitlin Clark does it, it becomes a big story. ‘Maybe you should be more humble, or you should be a lady’. Whereas Draymond Green does not get that same type of heat from the public on the men’s side. So, I think there’s that pressure for women to be their authentic self, and to play the game at a high level while doing it,” says Douglas.   

Sheridan Bruins Women’s Basketball Head Coach Sean Douglas. (Photo courtesy

Attracting new viewership is critical to the growth and success of women’s sports, which can be described in no other way than on fire. For the first time, it is predicted that women’s sports in 2024 will generate revenue exceeding $1 billion, a 300% increase over 2021 levels.

Sheridan Bruins Point Guard GiaSophia Aoude believes the influence these women have had on their younger counterparts is invaluable.

“I’m so happy [women’s basketball] is getting the exposure because there’s so many awesome athletes that just giving those girls the exposure is the best, and they deserve it. For myself, Caitlin Clark represents myself because I am a guard. So her having the impact, and her having the confidence is helping girls like myself who are developing to become better in other girls’ lives,” says Aoude. 

Sheridan Bruins Women’s Basketball Point Guard GiaSophia Aoude.  (Photo courtesy

While it used to be the men’s college basketball stars that garnered all the media and public attention, that spotlight is now shifting. The women’s NCAA Iowa-South Carolina championship game on April 7, 2024 set a new TV ratings record for the most watched women’s basketball game ever, and according to a recent poll, four out of the six most recognized names from March Madness are women. 

“In terms of Angel and Caitlin’s impact on the game, they are in a position right now to impact young females way beyond just in between the lines and playing basketball. You’re bringing in different eyes to who they are, what they do, not only for basketball, but what they’re doing outside of basketball,” says Douglas 

The phrase plays like a girl has never sounded so good. 

About Nicholas Paul 1 Article
My name is Nicholas Paul. I'm a second year journalism student who has a passion for writing, and creating infographics and reporter packages. I look forward to writing articles on a variety of topics.