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Do GW Women Win Better?



George Washington University


Do GW Women Win Better?

Women's Basketball Wins A-10 Championship

Andrew Nelson


With their victory on March 4, 2018 over Saint Joseph's by the score of 65-49, the George Washington Women's basketball team won their 7th Atlantic-10 crown and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. This is especially an accomplishment as ESPN had the Colonials ranked as the 6th team in the conference and was the 6th seed in the tournament. Luck favored the Colonials as the 2nd and 3rd seed, Duquesne and Fordham respectively, fell in the quarterfinals. This raises an interesting question for the casual Colonial's fan, who is better, the men's or women's team?

The men's team had it first season in 1912 but the women did not have a team until 1975. For the sake of equity and convenience, we'll limit the scope to seasons since 2001. The working definition of success in the sports world is measured in championships. Teams that have phenomenal regular seasons, but lost championships are remembered far more for their losses. See the 2016 Golden State Warriors or the 2007 New England Patriots for examples. By that standard, neither the men nor the women have won NCAA championships, but their other championship metrics we can utilize.

Since 2001, the women's team has won four Atlantic-10 championships, while the men's team has won 2 Atlantic-10 championships. The women have had more NCAA tournament appearances than the men, which doesn't include their multiple appearances in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The men's team did win their NIT tournament in 2016 and was as high as the 8th seed in the 2005 NCAA tournament in which they lost to the 1st seeded Duke, which is no shame. However, the women's team has had more overall championship success.

Statistically, the women's team is also superior. Having played only one less game (535) their winning percentage since 2001 is 64.11%. Comparatively, the men have played 536 games and have a winning percentage of 57.08%. The men's team has had seven losing seasons (meaning they win less than half of their games) while the women's team has only had four losing seasons.

So, the women are better, aren't they? This challenge of comparing the success of women's versus men's teams is not a GW specific debate. In the past two Olympics (2018 Winter/2016 Summer) American women have won more medals than their male counterparts. Notable women's teams like the United States soccer team and the United States gymnastics team reached international fame and are historically more successful than the male equivalent teams. Leagues such as the WNBA and women's MMA are rising in popularity. So, shouldn't there be a measure of equality?

Sadly not, as women's sports are consistently less funded (unless privately supported like the gymnastic team), are still less popular despite their rise, and require unique stories to garner major notice. No one is arguing that men deserve less attention, but it is time to share the spotlight. College sports is the perfect institution to experiment and implement this idea. These teams almost always play in the same arena, play during the same season, and are frequently both free or have discounted tickets for students of that school. If the GW students love experiencing and cheering for the men's team, that's fantastic, but they should extend that support for the women's team too. After all, they are a damn good team.