Fans flock to women’s final game

“We are BG.”

Those three words were all that could be heard at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C., with 20 seconds left in the regional semi-final game Saturday, and the Bowling Green Women’s Basketball team down by 16 points.

Most notably, it drowned out Arizona State’s victorious cries.

Falcon fans from around the country flooded into the Coliseum, at least doubling that of Arizona State fans, creating an overwhelming sea of orange and brown.

Officials couldn’t give exact numbers of BGSU and ASU fans because ticket sales were general admission.

Signs, painted bodies and BGSU apparel were prevalent, along with a strong vocal presence to make sure the players knew their “sixth man” was there to give them that extra boast of adrenaline.

Throughout the Mid-American Conference and National Collegiate Athletic Association tournaments, the students, faculty, administrators and community have traveled to Cleveland, then on to East Lansing, Mich., and then to Greensboro, N.C., to cheer on the Falcons.

Fans traveling from Bowling Green to North Carolina spent more than nine hours driving, or a little over an hour flying.

Some students who drove painted their car windows and cheered for the Falcons the whole trip.

“We got all kinds of people to honk for BG, even semi-truck drivers,” said Ashley Hartman, senior.

Some fans didn’t have to leave the comfort of home to support their alma mater.

Alumni Karla Ewald (’75) and Sarah Ludwig (’06) both live and work in the Greensboro area and were elated to be able to come and cheer on the University.

Ewald, who was a member of the women’s basketball team before Title IX was put into effect, was elated to see how far Coach Curt Miller and the team have come this year.

“To see the Falcons in the Sweet 16, well, that’s sweeter than any Sweet 16 I’ve seen in 30 years,” Ewald said.

Another amazing feeling was hearing and seeing the Bowling Green fans, who more than doubled that of Arizona State’s fan base.

President Sidney Ribeau and his wife, Paula, were there along with several other University administrators. Ribeau said the accomplishments and example that the athletes have made for Bowling Green have been undeniable.

“I think the fans are so supportive because the players are visible on campus,” Ribeau said. “The students feel connected to them and should be very proud of this team because they represent us well.”

And the team appreciated the way the fans supported it throughout the season.

“To walk on the court and to see everyone is always nice,” Ali Mann, senior, said. “It’s been terrific to see the support grown from the minute I walked on the floor my freshman year to now.”

That growth can be seen not just in fan participation at games, but campus and community involvement with the team and team apparel.

Wendy Schortgen, assistant merchandise manager for the University Bookstore, said there has been an increase in women’s basketball apparel purchases, including the selling of almost all 144 3-peat MAC Tournament shirts that were only on the floor for a week.

“Everyone is really supporting the team, and buying the merchandise,” Schortgen said.

Caroline Keating, senior, student teaches at Bowling Green High School and said faculty, staff and students have been talking of nothing but the game, showing that not only the University, but the Bowling Green community has been supportive of this team.

“To have a send-off like we did before was phenomenal. Students, faculty and community members all came out,” said Jennifer Roos, assistant head coach. “The support we’ve had is phenomenal.”