When the Women's Final Four comes to Minneapolis on April 1-3, the national champions won't be the only ones celebrating an impressive feat.
The NCAA will continue its year-long celebration of Title IX's 50th anniversary and launch it forward into a full year, culminating at next year's Women's Final Four in Dallas.
At a Minneapolis Final Four kickoff event at Target Center on Tuesday, ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo attributed much of women's basketball's growth to Title IX.
"My generation was kind of the first generation that really benefited from the Title IX," said Lobo, who won an NCAA championship with UConn in Minneapolis in 1995. "The growth of the women's game, women's sports, goes hand in hand with opportunities to have equal treatment, equal opportunity. And none of that would have happened on a national scale without Title IX."
Lobo mentioned how her daughters have grown up idolizing players such as Seattle's Breanna Stewart and the Lynx's Napheesa Collier. And she's noticed how her son has grown up with a respect for the women's game, too.
Lynx general manager and coach Cheryl Reeve echoed the importance of participation and how playing host to a Final Four can impact that.
"Girls are going to start playing at a younger age," Reeve said. "… They're going to see players perform here that they're going to emulate now in their back yards."
But as much as women's sports have developed in 50 years, this is more a milestone marking than finish-line crossing.
"We've come a long way," said Nina King, chair of the D-I women's basketball committee, "but we've certainly identified where we need to continue to make progress."