So Pathetic as Tessa Johnson cries out am dying after involving in..

Guard Tessa Johnson Terminate Contract with South Carolina After Background  Argument with Management

There were other winners of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament besides the University of South Carolina. The networks airing the game did the same, as a record-breaking crowd tuned in to see the championship on Sunday.

The women’s final game between the University of Iowa Hawkeyes and the South Carolina Gamecocks drew a larger TV audience than the men’s for the first time in history, according to ESPN, with an average of roughly 18.7 million viewers and a peak of a whopping 24 million combined on ESPN and ABC.

On the other hand, the Division 1 men’s UConn Huskies’ victory over Purdue had an average viewership of 14.82 million across TBS and TNT.

But Sunday’s game was also the occasion when another sports glass ceiling fell.

For the third time in a row, the women’s collegiate tournament’s television viewing record was broken on Sunday night’s championship game. A then-record 12.3 million viewers watched the Elite Eight game between Iowa and LSU, which was a rematch of the 2023 NCAA championship, with a peak audience of 16.1 million, according to ESPN. That record was shattered by the ensuing semifinal matchup between Iowa and the University of Connecticut, which brought in 14.2 million TV viewers, according to ESPN.

The March Madness tournament’s championship match was dubbed “a fitting finale” by ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro.

“These exceptional athletes, coaches and teams captured our attention in unprecedented ways and it’s incumbent on all of us to keep the incredible momentum going,” Pitaro stated in a statement.

Women’s basketball has seen a surge in popularity due to the rise of superstar players, including Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, who finished the season as the highest scoring player in NCAA history.

Other big draws this season include JuJu Watkins, the freshman sensation from USC, Angel Reese of LSU, the NCAA record holder for double-doubles in a season, and Paige Bueckers of UConn, who will return for her senior year next year rather than declare for the 2024 WNBA draft.

When someone tries to pick out a player who could have a breakout performance for their team in a national title game, typically, they’ll stray away from freshmen due to the notion that freshmen tend to let the magnitude of the game affect them. Even if you’re a South Carolina fan who believed one of Dawn Staley‘s freshman guards would make a sizeable impact against Iowa on Sunday, you likely went with MiLaysia Fulwiley, who had already proven she could step up in a championship setting against LSU in the SEC Tournament Title game. While Fulwiley had a solid outing against the Hawkeyes, it was her freshman counterpart, Tessa Johnson, who stole the show in Cleveland.

Johnson scored a career-high and team-high 19 points on an extremely efficient 63.6% shooting percentage from the floor, knocking down three shots from behind the arc and displaying a boatload of confidence in the shots she took. One could make a compelling argument that Tessa’s performance was the difference in South Carolina hoisting the trophy, even though other players made significant contributions in different ways. All season long, it’s been other freshmen, including MiLaysia, who’ve received a ton of national fanfare, but rising redshirt junior guard Raven Johnson made it clear in her post-game press conference appearance after the title game that she believes Tessa deserves to be mentioned in the same vein.

“When you talk about freshmen, I think [Tessa’s] name should come up. It’s just the stuff that she does. She’s always ready for the moment when her number is called. She’s always ready. I mean, I think every shot she puts up, [it’s going to go] in. I mean, [it’s] just what Tessa does. And on the defensive end, she takes pride on defense. And if you talk to her, she’s like a sponge, like she gets in the gym. She works on her shot every day, and she wants to learn and she wants to grow. So when you talk about freshmen, Tessa Johnson’s name should definitely be in the conversation.”

Johnson might not possess the sheer speed, acceleration, and ball-handling that Fulwiley possesses, but with her shooting stroke, ability to get to her spot, and willingness to get better, the backcourt duo will be a fun one to watch when their time to shine eventually comes.

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