As I watched Louisville steamroll No. 6 Oregon State to move on to the Final Four, by nearly the exact margin that they beat BSU in the first round of the NCAA tournament, I was reminded of just how good the BSU women’s team is. Their tournament dreams have been consistently crushed by disappointing and, might I add, disrespectful first round match-ups. With both UCLA (last year’s match up) and Louisville in the Elite Eight, and Oregon State having beat out No. 3 Tennessee in the Sweet Sixteen (2015’s first round match-up), we have quite literally been paired up with the best in the nation.
Boise deserves better seeds and better picks. Scratch that. The BSU women deserve better everything.
If you missed it, the BSU women’s team won both the conference title and the Mountain West Tournament. And they did it with no traditional posts or point guards. Starting post Marijke Vandershaaf was injured at the beginning of the season, and not long after post Brooke Wheeler also sustained a season-ending injury. Future point guard Jayde Christopher spent the season redshirting.
With only two seniors graduating, and three top recruits joining the squad, it’s easy to say that Boise State will be the most formidable team in the Mountain West. The question is, will it win them the respect they deserve?
There are many facts out there. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that women’s collegiate basketball gets just a shred of the coverage that men’s does. The number of fans at Taco Bell Arena for women’s games also sheds light on the sexism that still pervades attitudes about women’s sports. I don’t want to go there right now. I want to celebrate an amazing season and convince the sports fans of Boise that they need to come out for the next one.
If you’re not convinced already, here’s a few more reasons:
▪ Riley Lupfer. She’s a sophomore sharpshooter who holds both the program and conference record for single season three-pointers. She’s the Steph Curry of the Mountain West.
▪ New recruit Maggie Freeman. The 5-foot-11 freshman can dunk a tennis ball. I’m happy to watch when that turns into a basketball.
▪ Courtside seats and dirt-cheap tickets. More money for pretzels.
▪ Coleman, Christopher, and Vandershaaf. Wait for the breakout season of A’Shanti Coleman (remember that tournament winning buzzerbeater she made? Literally the whole nation saw it on SportsCenter), the initiation of Kansas transfer Jayde Christopher, and the triumphant return of blocking machine Marijke Vandershaaf.
▪ Pride. You’ll want to be a fan before BSU goes to the NCAA tournament again next year and makes a name for the City of Trees (with Riley Lupfer, maybe we will be the City of Threes?) This team is going places.
Do you like basketball? Do you love Boise? These women are kicking you-know-what and doing our city proud. I hope next season, the basketball fans of Boise will be there to watch.
Fiona Luray, of Boise, is an author, singer-songwriter and basketball enthusiast.