Despite success, HU women’s B-Ball is a hard sell to student fans

By Jennifer Ibe 

The crowd cheered as Lady Pirates players drove down the court, shot and scored.

As the sea of students’ in their blue and white paraphernalia high-fived and chanted in victory, it was clear to see the high enthusiasm and excitement, but usually this is not constant.

As Hampton University prepared to face conference opponent University of Maryland Eastern Shore Monday, Jan. 31, the campus was a buzz to hear that the ESPNU would come out to broadcast the game.

Gerard Bingham, a senior broadcast journalism major from Maryland, was able to get in touch with an athletic department representative who informed him how this game was chosen.

“Before the season,” said the spokesman, “they (MEAC) choose a game that will be aired, its always a Monday game.”

However, concern arose as how many students in fact will attend the game, particularly the women’s game.

“People don’t care about the women’s basketball game enough to support them,” said Shemar Woods. “I wish it would change.”

Woods, a senior, print journalism major from Centreville, Va. who reports the play-by-play for the men’s game for WHOV 88.1 FM, also said: “They don’t respect them. It’s not only at Hampton, on a bigger scale; well, unless you’re UConn.”

Last spring the Lady Pirates were MEAC champions. They qualified for the NCAA tournament but lost in the first round to a heavily favored Duke University team at Duke’s home in Durham, N.C.

However, that thinking is not uncommon as several students felt the same way.

“The girl games are boring; that’s why no one goes,” said Ashley Mclean, a senior biology major from Silver Springs, Md.

Jacqueline Woulard, a senior chemical engineering major from Denver, Colo., said: “People go to the game to socialize, not to watch. Plus more people go to the guy’s game.”

When asked further why there was such a low attendance at the women’s game; Leon Burns, a junior management major from Silver Spring, Md., said, “Most people see girls’ basketball as boring. Not saying I do, just the public overall. I think it’s good our school is finally promoting [the women].”

Thanks to social media network such as Twitter and Facebook, word spread around campus and caught the attention of students who weren’t aware of the game.

Olivia Lewis, sophomore broadcast journalism major from Winston-Salem, N.C., who is also a sideline reporter for WHOV 88.1, said: “Women’s basketball isn’t popular period.”

When asked about if students will come to the game, Lewis said, “Definitely. I don’t think the student population will affect the game, but a lot of local people will come out.”

The Monday night game proved a lot of things: Not only did both women’s and men’s teams win, but with more promotion and support from students, going to Pirates games will be enjoyable for the students as well as the players.

The writer is a senior print journalism major at the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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