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This Week in Women’s Basketball: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark wins the Sullivan Award

It was a week of honors in women’s college hoops. While Iowa’s Caitlin Clark won the Sullivan Award, Teresa Weatherspoon and Kim Mullkey were honored with statues at Louisiana Tech.

LSU v Iowa
Iowa’s Caitlin Clark won the 2023 James E. Sullivan Award.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

While we are in the depths of the WNBA playoffs, college basketball is fast approaching, evidenced this week’s college hoops-focused happenings:

Caitlin Clark wins Sullivan Award

Tuesday evening at the New York Athletic Club, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark was presented the 93rd AAU James E. Sullivan Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate or Olympic athlete.

Clark is just the fifth women’s college basketball player to win the award, joining Chamique Holdsclaw (Tennessee, 1998), Coco and Kelly Miller (Georgia, 1999) and Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon, 2019).

LA Tech honors Weatherspoon, Mulkey with statues

Former Lady Techster greats Teresa Weatherspoon and Kim Mulkey were two of six former Louisiana Tech athletes recently honored by the university with statues.

Mulkey was the All-American point guard for the 1981 AIAW and 1982 NCAA national champion Lady Techsters. She then served as an assistant coach for 15 years, including during Weatherspoon’s tenure in Ruston. A two-time All-American, Weatherspoon won the Wade Trophy in 1988. After also becoming an assistant coach at her alma mater, Weatherspoon was head coach of the Lady Techsters from 2009 to 2014.

In recent years, statues that celebrate potentially problematic historical events or individuals have been at the center of American ideological debates. Although exhausting, the intense consternation reflects the importance of statues as objects that take up public space and, in turn, make symbolic statements about what or who should matter to the public. Louisiana Tech’s decision to honor women athletes, long considered less deserving of adulation than their male counterparts, is significant, as the statues of Weatherspoon and Mulkey announce that they—and all women athletes—are individuals worthy of public representation and recognition. (Although, one of the male athletes the university chose to honor undercuts any progressive interpretation of the selection process.)

Sending our best to Tasha Butts

Hired as head coach at Georgetown University in April, Tasha Butts will temporarily step away from the team in order to prioritize her health during her battle with breast cancer. A former Tennessee Lady Vol who had served as associate head coach at Georgia Tech since 2019, Butts was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer in 2021.

Take a look at too-early NCAA Tournament projections

Last week, ESPN’s Charlie Creme dropped the year’s first edition of Bracketology, projecting the 68 teams that will claim a spot in the 2024 NCAA Tournament field.

Defending national champion LSU takes the top overall seed, with UConn, Ohio State and UCLA getting the other three No. 1 seeds. Interestingly, Creme sees the Pac-12 going out with a bang, with the conference, in its final season of existence, sending a conference-best nine teams to the Big Dance.