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Women's College Hoops Becoming More Popular, Profitable

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RALEIGH — Women's basketball is no longer just a second-class college sport. Professional leagues including the WNBA and the ABL are wooing the best female college athletes into basketball careers. And, sponsors are getting on board.

For the Louisville Lady Cardinals, getting warmed up for the NCAA tournament at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium is a dream come true. But junior Sharon Bellamy has an even bigger dream -- going to the WNBA.

It used to be that when women got to the college level, their basketball careers were over, now they have options.

Nora Lynn Finch, a Director of Athletics at N.C. State, says with 64 teams and 4.2 million spectators a year, sponsors can't afford to ignore women's college basketball.

Neither can retailers. Sports store manager Jayson Greene says that his industry is also targeting female athletes.

In the 1970's, only one in 27 girls took part in high school sports. Today, that number is one in three.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Lori Foushee, Photographer
Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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