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Women’s Team Sports: Where Is The Love?

Candace Parker (right) of the Los Angeles Sparks and Candice Dupree of the Phoenix Mercury, during Game 2 of an WNBA semifinal series in September.

Breanna Stewart is a gifted sophomore basketball star at the University of Connecticut. Frank Deford wonders if you've ever heard of her.

Candace Parker (right) of the Los Angeles Sparks and Candice Dupree of the Phoenix Mercury, during Game 2 of an WNBA semifinal series in September.

Candace Parker (right) of the Los Angeles Sparks and Candice Dupree of the Phoenix Mercury during Game 2 of their WNBA semifinal series in September.

Audio

Aired 1/15/14

Two recent sporting disappointments underscore the state of interest in women in sports. The first: Lindsey Vonn, sadly acknowledging that her injuries were too serious, announced that she would not be able to compete in the Olympics next month. The second: The owners of the Los Angeles Sparks, acknowledging that they were overwhelmed by debt, just gave up the franchise.

Now, even if you aren't a sports fan, you've probably heard about Vonn's fate. Even if you are a sports fan, you might well have not heard about the plight of the Sparks. The larger point: Individual women's sports continue to be the popular fare on that side of the gender line, while women's team sports simply never manage to attract much attention, let alone success.

It's possible that more Americans are familiar with the nostalgic baseball league from the 1940s depicted in the old movie A League of Their Own than they are with any existing women's league.

Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on this issue.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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