Any member of the Oklahoma State women’s basketball program will tell you that the Cowgirls would have rather made the NCAA Tournament. But one positive part about playing in the WNIT is the chance to play more home games.
That is, if that’s what the athletic administration wants.
Where NIT and WNIT games are played is largely based on which school bids to host. If a school doesn’t draw large crowds during the regular season, it may not make sense financially to host a postseason game.
But the OSU administration is clearly behind the Cowgirls. They haven’t had to leave Gallagher-Iba Arena for any of their three WNIT games and would probably host the winner of the Colorado/Villanova game if they beat Missouri State Thursday night.
“We’re very appreciative of our administration for making sure that we’re staying here,” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “Our crowds continue to grow, and we told our players this is a chance to grow our fan base for the future here. Our community’s getting excited about it.”
OSU usually draws a crowd between 2,000 and 2,500 per game, but the school has been on spring break since the WNIT began. Last Friday’s first-round game against Central Arkansas drew a crowd of 1,324, while the second-round contest against Wichita State brought a crowd of 1,482.
But with the OSU and OU men missing out on the postseason and the OU women losing to St. John’s in the NCAA second round Monday night, the hope is that more people statewide will now turn their attention to the Cowgirls. They are, after all, the last Division I basketball team playing in Oklahoma.
“Maybe people start noticing us a little bit more, giving us more respect,” OSU forward Toni Young said.