After another phenomenal performance by senior center Brionna Jones, the fourth-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team held off Purdue, winning their third Big Ten tournament championship in three seasons as well as securing the regular season title, again for the third year running.
The victory gives them an automatic berth in the upcoming NCAA tournament and secures the Terrapins’ place in Big Ten history. Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, the team has racked up an amazing conference record, 58-3, and with their recent win, become the first team since 2011 to win three straight Big Ten tournaments.
Yet for all of their achievements, there’s been little conversation about the records the team has made or the historical mark they’ve achieved in Big Ten history. From what we can see, it’s been “all quiet on the Western front.” And the Maryland women are not alone. Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team, led by their own “Wonder Woman” — four-year starter and this year’s tournament MVP Lindsay Allen — beat Duke with great ease last Sunday, gaining their conference’s automatic bid to the NCAAs. They also captured their fourth consecutive ACC tournament title.
We’re sure both teams have enjoyed private moments of celebration albeit briefly before turning their attention to the NCAA tournament. Maybe they’ll have to wait awhile before realizing dreams of ticker tape parades, invitations to their State Houses or the White House — even securing a prominent space on the front pages of their favorite newspapers and magazines. Maybe.
Still, we can’t help but wonder how much greater the extent of celebrations, the loudness of the roars or the number of days punctuated by careless carousing by alums and fans alike would be if instead of the victors being proud members of a women’s team, they had been the men’s team instead.
Does gender still dominate our preferences, perhaps even fueling deeply-hidden prejudices?
We’re just saying.