By Brian Yauger
A wise man once said, “put some respek on my name,” and it’s long past time to “put some respek” on the women’s basketball team.
The team currently sits at 14-5, third in the Horizon League, and they are hardly getting the attention they deserve.
Friday’s game against Wright State University was the most lively I’ve seen the crowd all season, which was well warranted. It was one of the most exciting games of basketball I’ve watched in my time covering sports.
I get that women’s basketball isn’t as popular a sport as men’s basketball, but this team has been playing out of their minds and deserves more credit for doing so.
As of Monday, the women’s team just set a program best — four different players receiving Horizon League Player of the Week. Alison Smolinski, Mary Dunn, Chelsea Olson and most recently, Sarah Cash have each earned the honor this year.
The Penguins are top five in the conference in nearly every statistical category.
Smolinski ranks fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 13.8 points per game. Cash (13.1 PPG) and Dunn (12.8 PPG) round out the top 10 at seventh and eighth place respectively.
Melinda Trimmer is tied for the assists per game lead, averaging 4.1 a game. Chelsea Olson is the leader in defensive rebounds, bringing down an average of nearly seven per game.
I’m just bothered by some minor things — there’s nothing overtly bad, it’s just the tiny details.
Like not dimming the lights and rolling out a red carpet during the player introductions for the women’s team like they do for the men. Granted, this could be a choice by the team, and if so ignore this, but the difference in spectacle is a bit jarring when you’re watching the teams on back-to-back days.
I know that may seem minute, but it’s something that’s irked me since I noticed it. There’s a different level of “hype factor” that’s glaringly obvious and can be viewed as one team being treated as “lesser” than the other.
Obviously, I’m not arguing that the men’s team should be treated lesser, quite the opposite. The men’s team, despite the results, has been playing very well over the last month and the wins are absolutely going to follow suit.
The two teams support each other so well. The women’s team is always there at the men’s games and the men’s team is always there in the crowd showing their support. So, the issue isn’t with the two teams not supporting each other. It’s more of a general perception issue.
Things are starting to change around, however. The media has started to take notice. I’m not as alone in media row as I was to when the year began, so things are definitely looking up.
All I can say is, if you’ve yet to check this team out, do it. You won’t regret it. This group has the potential to be one of the best women’s basketball teams in YSU history and that’s not something I’d want to miss.