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Women's History Month: Top moments in Minnesota women's sports this season

Women making waves in sports in recent years
Women making waves in sports in recent years 04:04

MINNEAPOLIS — Caitlin Clark won the hearts of many this year, especially young girls, who aspire to be like her someday. Game after game this season, Clark broke records around the country and here in Minnesota.

First, she became the highest-scoring woman in the NCAA, then the highest-scoring player of all time in the NCAA. She even broke NBA star Steph Curry's NCAA 3-point record.

What's now known as the "Caitlin Clark Effect" helped sell out arenas all over the country, including here in Minnesota, a Williams Arena, and then again, during the Women's Big 10 Tournament, which was the first time a women's basketball tournament had ever sold out.

"It's crazy how much more support women's basketball has gotten, and I just hope it continues to keep growing," said Olivia Olson, a Benilde-St. Margaret's basketball player and Michigan commit. 

While Clark gained the spotlight, she also shared it with so many other female athletes. The Nebraska Volleyball team sold out the 90,000-seat football stadium for one of their home games this season in August 2023. Eagan native Kennedi Orr was part of that historic moment.

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"I would say it's pretty indescribable. I still don't know how to describe how I was feeling, except super surreal," said Orr.

Then as the new year began, a new professional women's hockey league took the ice. The PWHL Minnesota home opener at the Xcel Energy Center drew 13,316 fans, which set a record for the most people ever to attend a professional women's hockey game.

"We're a part of history. This was a huge day of Minnesota hockey history, and we got to be there," said Katie Channing, who attended the game with her daughter. 

When it comes to women's and girls' hockey, Minnesota leads the way with more than 14,000 players. That's 2,500 more than any other state in the country.

Girls were breaking records at the high school level too. St. Croix Lutheran Academy's Laura Hauge broke the state's girls basketball 3-point scoring record with 459 career 3-pointers before her senior season was even halfway through.

"It was kind of surreal. I made it on my first 3-shot so that made it easy," said Hague. 

Down south in Northfield, sophomore Caley Graber became the first girl to beat a boy in the state wrestling tournament, and the first girl to medal at the boys' state tournament. She took home 5th place.

"It's amazing to be one of those few girls that are able to compete against the boys because it's really tough to compete with them," said Graber.

If you've been sleeping on dance as a sport, think again. The University of Minnesota dance team grabbed the attention of millions this year when their national jazz routine went viral. The team took home their 22nd national championship title in 2024, which is the most of any other NCAA sport at the U of M. 

"Just the appreciation of all of the hard work that these athletes are putting in for, often times, not a lot of recognition," said Amanda Gaines, head coach of the U of M dance team. 

As Caitlin Clark hit the court at Target Center earlier in March of this year in front of 20,000 fans, the overflow crowd found space in a first-of-its-kind watch bar in south Minneapolis. Jillian Hiscock opened up A Bar of Their Own just in time for the Women's Big 10 Tournament. It's a place fully dedicated to showing women's sports on their TVs year-round. The crowd they've been seeing so far speaks to the demand.

"I think people have been ready for this and waiting for this for a long time, so to have it here and to have folks inside means so much," said Hiscock. 

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