Give women’s basketball a shot
Published: Monday, December 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, December 10, 2012 00:12
The West Virginia men’s basketball team had a season-high 11,631 people in attendance for Saturday’s tussle with rival Virginia Tech.
It was the team’s best game of the year by far, and the loud, passionate Mountaineer fans who showed up on a rainy December Saturday were rewarded with a 68-67 victory.
Ninety minutes after the men’s game the No. 23 West Virginia women’s basketball team took the court to face St. Bonaventure, who upset the Mountaineers last season.
An official attendance of 1,629 was announced – more than 85 percent lower than the men’s game.
The women’s team would ultimately win by 20 points, and near the end of the game, fewer than 500 people had to have been watching.
It was something 12th-year head coach Mike Carey was not pleased about.
"I want to thank the people that stayed after the men’s game, and shame on the people that didn’t. I’m so tired of this stuff," he said.
"It’s a funny thing; you say you’re a West Virginia fan – man, I kind of question some of that. If you’re a West Virginia fan, you like all sports," he said.
"If you’re a West Virginia fan, you cheer for everybody. If you’re a West Virginia fan and you’re here, you don’t freaking leave."
Carey is one of the best coaches on campus; his results speak for themselves.
He entered in 2002, and took a program viewed as an afterthought and turned it into a perennial competitor. The West Virginia women’s team has won 20 games in five of the past six seasons.
He and the rest of the team work extremely hard, and he has every right to voice his disdain for the poor fan turnout.
I’m not saying he’s right, and I’m not saying he’s wrong.
From a student’s perspective, I certainly understand not attending either game Saturday because you aren’t a basketball fan, or would rather watch from home.
With finals week now upon students, there’s no reason to waste precious study time attending when you can study and watch the games at home.
That being said, I’m not sure how many students for whom that actually holds true.
The men’s game saw a packed student section – practically all of which evaporated at the end of the men’s game.
I’m not here to tell you what to do with your time or to tell you you need to be at every women’s home game, because it’s your duty to support every team as strongly as the football and men’s basketball team, because it’s definitely not.
However, what I am urging you to do is give women’s basketball a try.
Seriously, these girls can hoop.
They may not be able to dunk or run the court as fast as men, but they can shoot, pass and play just as well.
Fundamentally, the women’s game is sounder than the men’s, which probably stems from not being able to rely on athleticism as much as men can. It’s a slower pace, for sure, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – just different.
Above all, it’s not hard to go and watch one game to see what you think. The women’s volleyball team saw an outstanding turnout for its game against Texas.
You’ll probably see strong turnouts for the women’s basketball game against Baylor, too.
But the point is every game on the schedule is an opportunity show up and see a talented team representing West Virginia University.
Maybe more fans should have stayed after the men’s matchup against Virginia Tech; maybe coach Carey has a point.
Or maybe the majority of fans were right for leaving, because women’s basketball just isn’t as exciting.
Right or wrong, you won’t know until you try.