Column - WVU needs more support right now
Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 00:02
It's time to come out and say it.
The West Virginia women's basketball team needs much more support from fans for the rest of this season and beyond.
This is not the first time this has been said since the beginning of women's college basketball at West Virginia, but I feel it is an appropriate time to reconnect with the fans who don't realize what has been happening with this team.
West Virginia pulled off its biggest upset in program history Sunday, beating No. 2 Notre Dame 65-63, on its own home court.
My question to you all is: If the game would have been in the Coliseum, would you have gone?
I guarantee, at least 90 percent of the student body would not have attended the game.
The WVU women have averaged a home attendance of 1,949 people in 14 games this season. The Mountaineers opponents have averaged 3,187 people in the eight games that the team has played on the road.
I can say that over the last two or three home games, there has been a noticeable difference in attendance for women's basketball games, especially in West Virginia's upset against Louisville.
But it's still sad to see a team this young, talented and exciting and only beginning to reach the peak of its game, have a home arena that can get much louder than it has been.
I have had friends that always say ‘Well, it's a women's game.'
I understand you're not going to see any big, high-flying dunks, unless you're at Baylor maybe. That does not mean these games aren't competitive, and you can't have fun supporting your school's team.
Today's college students are so ignorant about sports. Yes, women's sports aren't as popular as men's, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out. I guarantee you will be a little surprised as to what you find if you go to one of these games.
And I'm not just saying this because I started covering the women's team this season. I have been to women's sports games at the high school and college levels, and I have always enjoyed being a part of the crowd, even if there wasn't that one huge play you're looking for you might find at a men's game.
There are still big moments, like the upset that just happened for the Mountaineers.
The Daily Athenaeum's managing editor, John Terry, wrote a great story last year on attendance at other women's basketball venues such as Maryland and Iowa State. (You can read it here: http://www.thedaonline.com/sports/women-s-b-ball-teams-maryland-iowa-st-had-no-trouble-packing-an-arena-1.1837743)
Last season, Iowa State averaged 9,316 fans per game, according to the story. This season, the Cyclones' average home attendance per game has gone up to 9,789.
Iowa State is located in Ames, Iowa. Not many people out of the state of Iowa could show on a map where that is. The biggest city Iowa State is nearest to is Des Moines, which has a population of just more than 40,000 people.
Pittsburgh, which is a little more than an hour away from us in Morgantown, has over 305,000 people, and that's just in the actual city, not the surrounding metropolitan area. I'm not knocking Iowa, but there are just not a lot of people in that area, and they get thousands more attendees to every game than we do.
For all of the work that head coach Mike Carey has put into this program, I think he and the team deserve a lot more respect than they have gotten, especially from the students, because that's really what it's about, right? Student athletes getting the utmost support from their fellow students.
The Mountaineers aren't getting any worse for the future, either. Carey signed what might be his best recruiting class during his tenure for next season, with Bria Holmes, the No. 28 player on ESPNU's HoopGurlz, which, I believe, is the equivalent of the ESPN top-150 rankings in men's basketball.
So I encourage you, if you love your school and its athletics, come to at least one or two of the remaining women's basketball games. Tell your friends to come, and you can make a fun afternoon out of it. The team needs your support, and it feeds off of the energy in the Coliseum, just like the men's team does.
The Mountaineers are playing their best basketball of the season, and I'm telling you it's going to continue on to next year.
You won't be disappointed.