ESPN celebrates 30 years of women’s basketball championship coverage


2017 Women’s Final Four from Dallas

Women’s Final Four game coverage on ESPN begins Friday, March 31 at 7 p.m. ET with semifinals on ESPN2, and continues through the weekend, with the national championship game at 6 p.m. on ESPN on Sunday. In the first Friday semifinal, Stanford meets South Carolina (7:30 p.m., ESPN2); in the nightcap, Mississippi State plays UConn (9:30 p.m., ESPN2).

While 2017 marks the 15th consecutive year ESPN has aired all 63 games of the women’s championship, it also marks the 30th anniversary of women’s tournament coverage.

Vice President of Women’s Sports Programming, Carol Stiff, said: “ESPN’s coverage has evolved in a great way over the last 30 years. From technology to our producers, analysts and reporters, we’ve also seen more women become involved in the hundreds of games we produce annually.”

“Having the Women’s NCAA tournament from start to finish is incredibly important to ESPN,” said Kate Jackson, coordinating producer of women’s college basketball. “We are so proud to cover this from the first tip of the first round to crowning the champion in Dallas.”

Coverage of the sport has not only grown and evolved on television, but also digitally.

“It’s all about great storytelling, whether that’s on camera or print or our website,” said Melanie Jackson, senior editor of espnW. “Sometimes that means an in-depth feature, but the beauty of technological advancements is that today that might mean a brief interview on social media or elevating a fun storyline we happened to see on Twitter. It’s still about capturing that moment that the rest of the world needs to see, whether it’s the shortest player on the court who scores four times her average or a Hall of Fame coach.”

In the video above, several NCAA basketball coaches including South Carolina’s Dawn Staley, UConn’s Geno Auriemma and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer – whose teams are in the 2017 Women’s Final Four – and others talk about the network’s coverage of the sport.

Jon McLeod produced this video.

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