We’ve all felt it.
The tingle running its way up the back of our spine, our vocal chords being tugged at to let loose and shout, the crowd around us at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall raising its voices and stomping its feet until it’s just a lasting din in the background of our awe.
That’s right. Indiana women’s basketball senior guard Grace Berger just made a half-court buzzer-beater to end the half.
Looking around at the stands of Assembly Hall last Sunday, many fellow members of the media covering the game remarked that it was a substantial turnout… with an added “for women’s basketball.”
Even head coach Teri Moren herself commented on the crowd after the game, sharing her appreciation for fans turning out to watch her team.
“We anticipated a great crowd,” Moren said. “We really appreciate our fans.”
To be blunt, there were still a good amount of empty seats in the Hall. Seats that would have been filled for the men’s team, even if they were playing Eastern Michigan University.
But the women weren’t playing a team scheduled as a glorified warm-up session. Indiana was playing the hated, the rival University of Kentucky Wildcats, who were the No. 13 team in the country. You know, the Kentucky team that’ll actually show up to Assembly Hall.
And they didn’t just play them, they beat them — handily — 88-67. Whenever Kentucky found a way to sneak back into the game, Indiana countered and pulled away. When it came time for the fourth quarter, there wasn’t going to be a comeback under Indiana’s watch.
The Hoosiers hit the jets, stifling the Wildcats on defense and taking advantage of scoring opportunities until the final buzzer. Draining 3-pointers, creative play design, great ball movement, highlight reel moments and a win. All of the ingredients to a fun, watchable basketball game were there Sunday night.
So, where were the rest of the fans?
One fan waved their arms attempting to create an intimidating atmosphere when Kentucky shot free throws facing Assembly Hall’s north bleachers.
Kudos to that one fan for the effort, but the energy paled in comparison to the south bleachers, which were filled by students and the basketball band alike just itching to cause some problems. It begs the question, where were the rest of the students, alumni and other fans?
Lemme let you in on a lil’ secret.
*Head darts from side to side, scanning the immediate area*
Tickets to women’s basketball games ... are free for students.
That’s right, free. There is no massive season-ticket package that’s only good for some games from a university which already raises tuition by over $100 every year. Nope, just free.
You can watch graduate student guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary shoot with more accuracy than Legolas, graduate student guard Ali Patberg find open teammates with precise passing, junior forward Mackenzie Holmes dominate the paint and Berger do something amazing every night all for free.
So, Indiana, you claim to ‘do it big?’
Prove it. Find the time and get yourself to Assembly Hall. There’s a top-10 team to watch.