The USF women’s basketball team had the strongest performance among USF Athletic teams this season.
But after finishing its 2012-13 season just four points shy of USF Basketball’s first ever Sweet 16 appearance, the university did not have the decency to celebrate the team upon its return from Lubbock, Texas.
The team lost in a hard-fought battle in overtime to No. 2 ranked California last Tuesday after coming back from a double-digit deficit with a minute left in the fourth quarter, upsetting even President Barack Obama’s NCAA bracket by making it past the first round.
Though the end result of the game was not what the Bulls had hoped, the team still put on a great show and fought valiantly. Junior shooting guard Inga Orekhova showed remarkable discipline and poise, sinking three free throws with 0.7 seconds left in regulation to tie the game, forcing overtime. The team showed heart and determination that shows that USF athletics is making remarkable strides toward success in the future.
When the men’s basketball team fell on a Monday night during an NCAA tournament loss to Ohio last year that shut them out of the Sweet 16, the team was honored with a pep rally on a Wednesday afternoon. Students showed their support for the team, decked out in green and gold and held giant cutouts of players’ and coaches heads.
The women’s team received no such treatment a week after their loss.
While women’s game attendance has always been less than men’s, the team definitely made a name for themselves in the world of college sports this year and put USF Athletics on the national map. Senior Andrea Smith was in the top ten in the Big East in assists, steals and scoring, putting up 538 points.
For a university in which pomp and circumstance can be made for more than three different grand openings of the Sun Dome, the lack of celebration is certainly surprising.
All USF sports teams play a pivotal role in shaping the University’s image and act as marketing tools of USF’s strength and prosperity, both to other schools and national media — just ask Florida Golf Coast’s admissions department after their Cinderella story of a season.
The women’s basketball team deserves the positive attention from the student body. Though it is sad there has not yet been a celebration for the team, late expressions of gratitude are better than none.