USF basketball: The Sun Dollsperspective

After nine straight losses and after even some of the most loyal fans have given up hope, one group on campus comes out to game after game wearing green, gold and their peppiest smiles.

Fans see the USF Sun Dolls dance their routine at halftime, media timeouts and before the game, trying to get fans into the action.

Its a job that, according to Sun Doll Taylor
Novello, a freshman majoring in
psychology, may be tougher than
people think.

When you go out there, even if youre having a bad day or if the team is losing, you have to give it your all at all times, Novello said. When the crowd is looking at you if the game isnt going well at least you can cheer them up.

But while the mens team has been on a drought, the womens team has given
the Sun Dolls opportunities to cheer for winning teams. Out-of-conference
play seemed to be foreshadowing of what was to come for the Bulls late in the season. In the midst of up and down conference play, the womens team has finally been able to find a sustainable and
surprising streak.

With Sun Dolls working every womens basketball game, the dancers say they picked up on signs of success early.

I feel like the women play just as aggressive as the men if not more aggressive, Emily Conti, a sophomore
Sun Doll majoring in physical
education, said. They go after the ball faster and they go down the court faster.

The excitement thats projected from the womens team has made life for the Sun Dolls a bit easier, especially when the Bulls knock off teams such as
No. 22 Syracuse as they did on Saturday.

While creating atmosphere in the Sun Dome, and in between routine, the Sun Dolls can be seen right behind the basket. Some could say they have the best seat in the house.

And, they say, you dont have to be a hardcore sports junkie to notice a few things.

Alexis LaBrode, a Sun Doll, and a junior majoring in mass communication and
religious studies, said that the constant
support the teams receive from the Sun Dolls has helped them learn a lot about the sport.

We are at every game, we have to sit there and we have to know whats going on, LaBrode said. We actually know a lot about basketball because were at every game.

LaBrode offered a diagnosis for what she thought may be the issue with the mens team.

I think there needs to be more team unity, more of a sense of community and
working together, she said. As opposed to I was the person with the most points or assists, it should be Together our team scored this many points.

But sometimes they say, its not easy to hit a losing streak.

Jen Levy, a freshman Sun Doll majoring in psychology, thinks that the experience
with both the mens and womens team this season has allowed the Sun Dolls to
connect with the players, even if theres no direct interaction.

I feel like we bond with the team and we dont even talk to them, just being through all the games. Levy said. I feel like when they lose, we lose.

Though between both the mens and womens team there have been a fair share of ups and downs, the Sun Dolls will be right there with the teams and fans trying to spark life into the Sun Dome.