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Sun coach Curt Miller: Many draft prospects said they don’t follow WNBA

(Evan Yu/Just Women’s Sports)

Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller revealed Wednesday that he spoke with more than 30 draft prospects this year. But according to Miller, more than 80 percent of those prospects admitted that they didn’t follow the WNBA much, if at all.

“Hopeful that our own rising players follow our league more this summer,” he wrote.

Many WNBA players showed support for women’s college basketball this season, especially for their own schools. Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson was on hand earlier this month to watch South Carolina win its second national championship after helping bring the program its first in 2017.

Candace Parker was also present at the title game, and she received a shoutout from Final Four MVP Aliyah Boston of the Gamecocks after the game.

The popularity of the college game has outpaced that of the WNBA, even as the pro league continues to grow in viewership. Last year’s WNBA Finals averaged 548,000 viewers – the most since 2017 and a 63 percent increase over 2020. Meanwhile, this year’s national championship drew a peak of 5.91 million viewers. Both Final Four games drew more than 2 million viewers.

In 2021, Kate Fagan wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated on the eve of the league’s 25th anniversary. In it, she wrote that the WNBA has struggled to receive media coverage and storylines that would help move the league into the forefront of people’s minds.

For example, women athletes receive about 4% of airtime on ESPN’s SportsCenter, according to a 2021 sports media study.

“Cue the chicken and the egg,” Fagan writes. “Is the WNBA given little coverage because people don’t want it, or do people not want it because it’s given little coverage?”

Miller is calling on women’s college basketball players to help the league bust out of that cycle.