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‘We’re going to be exciting to watch’: Poppie on women’s basketball

Toby Corriston
Shawn Poppie spoke to the media earlier this month to express his excitement regarding his new position as the head coach of the women’s basketball team.

Following the most watched women’s NCAA tournament of all time, Clemson’s newly hired head coach, Shawn Poppie, hopes to see more buzz around Clemson women’s basketball.

For the first time in its 42-year history, the 2024 women’s NCAA championship game had more viewers than the men’s. The game averaged a staggering 18.7 million viewers and peaked at over 24 million, the most watched basketball game at every level — men or women — since 2019.

The surge in viewership has mainly occurred within the last two years, as until last season, viewers for the women’s championship game hadn’t eclipsed six million for nearly 30 years. The audience has quickly grown, as last year’s championship saw almost 10 million people tune in, which was, at the time, the second most ever. This year, the tournament produced the three most-watched women’s basketball games of all time.

“Women’s basketball is at the forefront of national attention,” Poppie said regarding the recent excitement around the tournament. “For the first time, we’re getting national coverage. (Women’s basketball) is in every home across the country.”

“I think if you watched (the championship), Caitlyn Clark does a pretty good job of spacing the floor and bringing excitement with her ability,” Poppie continued. “That’s what we’re trying to do. Develop talent to where we can space the floor and play together.”

Clemson has already made its mark in gaining exciting talent, recently signing transfer forward Summah Evans. Evans, originally from Australia and transferring from Mercer, was the Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year this season. She also shot 40% from three and is sure to add to the anticipation next season.

In discussing strategies to draw more attention from the community, Poppie stressed the importance of mutual involvement.

“It’s a two-way street,” he explained. “We gotta get ourselves out in the community. We gotta get ourselves out on campus.”

“It’s been an exciting time for the welcome, and I do think there’s a lot of enthusiasm right now in our community with women’s basketball, and I think there’s no better time to capitalize on that.”

When asked to give his pitch on why Clemson fans should be paying more attention to their women’s team, Poppie said, “Why not? We’re going to be exciting to watch. You’re going to see a team that plays together. There’s going to be some energy around here.

“It’s going to be a fun time to be a part of this program, and I think there’s no better time than right now.”

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Weston Grant
Weston Grant, Senior Reporter
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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