Mac Kay: Women in Sports

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After playing 17 seasons in the league, one of the best point guards in basketball has done it once again. Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm were crowned the 2020 WNBA champions earlier this month.

The Storm were facing off against the Las Vegas Aces in the finals this year, who were stacked with proven veteran stars like Angel McCoughtry and the young regular season MVP A’ja Wilson. 

That didn’t faze the Storm one bit as they went on to beat the Aces in a three game sweep of the series. This championship marks the fourth in the franchise’s history as well as Bird’s fourth. 

The MVP of the finals, another former UConn player turned WNBA superstar, Breanna Stewart, received this award for the second time. Meaning every time she has won the WNBA Finals, she has also won the MVP award. 

While this season was a huge success for the Storm, it was also a huge success for the league in general. 

Back in May, when the season was originally supposed to start, there was still so much uncertainty surrounding when sports would resume since they had all been halted in March when the coronavirus pandemic hit America. So the WNBA took a few months to map out a plan to play the season while keeping everyone safe, and that’s how the “wubble” was formed. 

The wubble was the term used to describe the bubble area the WNBA created to keep their athletes, coaches and everyone else involved with the league in to ensure that they all stayed safe during the season. This was located at IMG Academy down in Bradenton, Florida. 

The season was officially able to start in July, and during the run of the season, the people in the wubble were given COVID tests often. And from the looks of the stats, the wubble did its job.

Per this tweet from Holly Rowe, someone who was personally in the wubble, it wasn’t just the way the season was run that was successful.

The amount of attraction the league was drawing went up during the season, which is a huge deal. It showed all throughout the season up until the finals, where the viewership was up by 34%.

All this just shows how successful the league was, and add that to the respect the league earned for their work with social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement this season. 

The players in the league used their platforms once again to speak out against racial injustice, particularly the wrongful killings of Black people by law enforcement. They wore shirts that said “#SayHerName” and had the names of women who died this way, like Breonna Taylor, on the back of their uniforms. 

And while this isn’t the first time they’ve been one of the leading sports leagues to speak out against issues like this, it was still powerful to see these women be voices to demand action for what is right.

The women in the WNBA weren’t the only ones using their platform this summer to speak out against racial injustice; tennis star Naomi Osaka also made a statement at this year’s US Open.

Before every match, she would wear a mask with the name of a Black person who died at the hands of racial injustice. She had seven matches at the Open, so she wore seven different masks. It was another powerful thing to see.

It was at the US Open where Osaka also won her third Grand Slam title, and by the looks of her performance, it’s doubtful that this will be slowing down anytime soon.

Now all these sporting events were played under COVID precautions, and due to the virus, Rowan’s fall sports have been postponed for the time being. But things are looking up because teams have been able to start training and quite a few of the women’s teams here at Rowan have officially named their captains.

Check out the articles on thewhitonline.com to see how the captains of teams like the field hockey, volleyball and cross country feel about their postponed seasons and their goals for when the season does start up.  

For comments/questions about this story, email sports@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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