There is an old saying that says, “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it actually make a sound?”
The same can be said for the women’s basketball team, if the Bobcats win in Burt Kahn Court, and no one is there to see it, did they really actually win?
The women’s basketball team is 7-2 on their home court and 12-6 overall, good enough for third place in the NEC, but who actually knows it?
When asked if he would want to attend a women’s basketball game against Long Island University, one Quinnipiac junior replied no, citing that it would be a waste of his time.
It is a team with 13 wins, six of them against conference opponents. Who would want to watch a winning team?
Apparently, not the students of Quinnipiac University. Women’s coach Tricia Sacca-Fabbri has noticed the empty stands during home games.
“The ideal is to have a true home court advantage. When you come running out of the locker room or one of the girls makes a huge basket, it would be great for the entire gym to explode,” said Sacca-Fabbri. “But it doesn’t seem like women’s basketball is really catching on [at Quinnipiac].”
Coach Sacca-Fabbri is not the only member of the basketball team that has noticed the empty arena.
Junior guard Helen Ridley of Lynn, MA, describes the problem as “noticeable”.
“Last Wednesday’s game [against Long Island University] pretty much showed the worst of it,” said Ridley. “I do have to say that we have had some good fan attendance this year, but mostly from outside support – people from around the town of Hamden and New Haven. As for student body support wereally don’t get any.”
Sacca-Fabbri wonders if it is the game itself that is having a hard time drawing fans. “Maybe our team, like the WNBA, isn’t really catching on throughout campus,” said Sacca-Fabbri. “[I think] we just need to sell the game a little better.”
Jon Fuhrman, a sophomore from Stony Point, NY, agrees with the women’s coach. “I think the perception is that many people think that women’s sports are not that entertaining or physical,” said Fuhrman.
Try telling that to senior Ashlee Kelly from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kelly is one of the most dominant players on the court at her position.
She leads the team in total points scored, 318, rebounding, 221, and is extremely durable averaging a team high 31.8 minutes played per game. Kelly acknowledges the fact that student support is extremely limited, but feels that it helps the team’s chemistry.
“We can’t rely on our fans to be there all the time,” said Kelly. “We must become mentally tough and win under any circumstances. As far as chemistry goes, it is better for us because we must now feed off each other instead of the crowd.”
Junior cheerleader Kara Brawn of Brunswick, ME, believes that the lack of support from the students hurts the game. “When attendance is down, it brings the excitement level down as well,” said Brawn. “There is only so much the cheerleaders can do to encourage the team.”
Since Brawn and the rest of the cheerleading team attend all of the home games for both the men and the women’s programs, they tend to notice the men’s draw compared to that of the women’s.
As Charmaine Steele of Stoughton, MA, undergoes therapy for a torn ACL, she has plenty of time to notice the lack of support during home games. “The lack of support our team receives, especially since we are playing so well, is disappointing,” said Steele. “I think the women’s games are just as exciting as the men’s.”
Something obviously needs to be done to fix the team’s attendance woes. Sacca-Fabbri believes that if the team wants to gain support, it needs to hook the students. She thinks the team can garner support through better promotion and better public relations. “We need to send out flyers or give free stuff away at some home games,” said Sacca-Fabbri.
Kristin Davis, a junior from New York, NY agrees with the fact that there needs to be a better system for promotions. “I never know when the team is playing, but I’ll get an e-mail after the fact telling me whether the team won or lost,” said Davis. “There needs to be more advertisement, some sort of announcement when the girls play. Free stuff would be cool too.”
The Bobcats have a good product, and after last week’s 32-point victory over LIU, it is a product that is only getting better. The problem is, like many women’s sports in general, this product is lacking in buyers.
The girls are doing their part, so it is time for Quinnipiac students to start doing theirs by attending the games. Showing up might not seem like much, but it means the world to the team.