National girls & women in sports day is February 5th every year, and celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of female athletes. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the sports programs, coaches, and athletes that are often overlooked. Beyond national girls & women in sports day, let’s check out the amazing achievements of girls and women athletes in college sports.
No matter who you’re cheering on, snag a collection of college gear from our shop by team section. You’ll find the perfect gifts and gameday gear for cheering on your favorite team. And if you need something more creative than clothing to show your team spirit, check out our collection of college team accessories.
Achievements of Female Athletes
Mark Cuban, the coach of the men’s NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, made some headlines by somewhat joking and somewhat being very serious about the possibility of drafting the 6 foot 8 inch Brittney Griner after her incredible career in college basketball. Ultimately, Griner would go on to play in the WNBA. Griner played for the Baylor Bears and became the all-time leading blocker in the history of college sports with 736 blocks during her career. She was a three-time All-American and was twice the player of the year.
Chamique Holdsclaw was given an honor that only one person can get every century--she was named the Naismith Women’s Collegiate Player of the Century. During her days at Tennessee, she led the team to three championships and averaged over 20 points and 8 rebounds a game.
Sometimes the girls take the court and get beat by the woman. Lisa Leslie is one of the most famous basketball players of a generation, leading both college and WNBA teams to massive success. She would go on to become a WNBA all-star eight times, win the WNBA championship twice, and would get the WNBA MVP vote three times--meaning she won the WNBA MVP award even when she was on the losing team. But all of that happened after an incredible career run at USC, where she would gather up 95 blocks in a single season. Those classic USC uniforms are definitely some of the great ones in the history of college sports.
Candace Parker is known as a great WNBA player, but it all started in Tennessee. Parker is famous for being the first woman to dunk a ball in an NCAA game--and she also did it twice in one game. She missed her entire first season from knee surgery, but she spent her second and third years leading the team to two straight national titles.
Sue Bird is one of the icons of women’s basketball, and it began at UConn, where she helped build the powerhouse program that the Huskies are today. Bird has had one of the most successful careers in basketball that you could put on paper, playing in the United States and abroad in the offseasons, winning world basketball championships and four Olympic gold medals. In college, she won 2 National Championships, got the Nancy Lieberman award three times, got player of the year by Naismith, USBWA, AP, the Big East, and the Honda Sports Award. UConn’s women’s team is a national treasure, and it’s got to have something to do with that great mascot.
UConn has one of the biggest women’s basketball dynasties anywhere in college sports. And despite the runaway success of the team as a whole, Diana Taurasi was such a pivotal player at UConn that her team’s motto during her tenure was: “We got Diana and they don’t.” That’s dominance. It’s especially impressive when you remember that Sue Bird was playing at UConn just a couple years prior. She was a two-time player of the year and took her team to three consecutive tournament victories. She played in 23 tournament games, going on to average over 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in March Madness play.
Continuing their domination of women’s basketball, UConn picked up Maya Moore, who led the Huskies to four Final Four spots and two national championships. She scored over 3000 points in her playing days, and the team went 150-4 when she was on the court. Those 3000 points put her in the company of the top 10 men’s college basketball players of all time.
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She kicks like a girl, and it’s a great thing. One of the best-known soccer players in United States history, Mia Hamm played four years at North Carolina, leading the Tar Heels to complete domination during her tenure. She only lost a single game while playing with North Carolina. The team won all four national titles while she was playing--and during those four championship games, they outscored opponents by a total margin of 26-1. It’s a kind of college sports domination which few players could even come close to rivaling. She had been playing on the women’s national soccer team since she was 15, and led the team to two World Cup championships. She scored 158 goals and had 144 assists during her days as a World Cup player.
If you know how to think like a striker in soccer, you might just know how to stop them better than the average player. That’s the untold story of Hope Solo, one of the best goalkeepers to ever play soccer. She became a goalkeeper after showing up at the University of Washington, but had grown up playing striker. By Sophomore year, she was awarded the player of the year award by the Pac 10. She was also the only goalkeeper whoever got nominated for the Hermann Trophy. Her days at the University of Washington inspired girls and women everywhere to play keeper at a high, strong level.
Girls and women love going to established programs, where they know that they are going to get an awesome college sports atmosphere. Abby Wambach was the top college recruit of the 1997 class, when she decided that she was going to play for the University of Florida. She played for the team that was only three years old--and loved the challenge of taking the challenger to the championships. She helped them beat the North Carolina Tar Heels in their first NCAA championship in 1998, during her first year with the team. Florida also won four SEC championships every year that Abby played. She would win All-American awards in her final three years, and would score 96 goals over the course of her career, a record that girls look up to and that women and men haven’t yet broken at Florida.
Other College Sports
Missy Franklin is known for her Olympic career, which started and ended when she was only 17 years old. She went to one Olympics and came home with 5 medals for the United States. But she also attended UC Berkeley. And if you can crush records in the Olympics and win medals, then you can definitely do it in college too. She was a sophomore when she won the Swimmer of the Year award from both the NCAA and the Pac-12. She’d also go on to win the ESPY for the best female college athlete.
Cat Osterman made the All-American squad all four of her years of college eligibility. She won two Olympic medals and went pro, becoming a 6-time all-star. She played for the University of Texas, where she recorded over 1,000 batters and won over 100 games. She kept her ERA under 1, and averaged double-digit strikeouts through her career.