Only rarely have I ever looked forward to a game more than my beloved UConn women’s basketball team going up against Mississippi State in this year’s March Madness semis. After all, one of our school’s alumnae, Chinwe Okorie, played for MSU and was likely to get significant playing time. It would be wonderful to root her on as well as my own favourite team. I confess, though, I was a little jittery as to how UConn would do. At one point in the season, MSU had been ranked #2, and they were the only highly ranked team UConn had not yet faced. I felt in my bones that, if anyone was going to stop UConn in this tournament, and I knew that was possible, MSU had perhaps the best chance.
"But two years ago, a year and a half ago, my oldest daughter, who was 4 ½, and my husband were watching UConn men, playing on the television in the living room, and my daughter walked in the room and looked at the TV and said to Steve, 'Are those boys playing?' And I said, 'Yes.' And my daughter said, 'I didn’t know boys played basketball.'" - Rebecca Lobo
The UConn women's basketball team has a long, strong tradition of excellence and is inarguably one of the driving forces in popularizing women's basketball over the past two decades. Rebecca Lobo is a major part of that tradition. After graduating, she was one of the founding members of the WNBA, the longest-running professional women's league in U.S. sports history. She now works for ESPN as an analyst focusing on the WNBA and women's college basketball and was inducted this year into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Born in 1973, she is one of the first generation of girls to grow up in the Title IX era. In many ways, she epitomizes the progress that has been made for women athletes over the past four decades.