Oklahoma State plane crash: Cowgirls basketball team returns to court for first time since tragedy Saturday

COMMENTARY — In the days since the Oklahoma State plane crash, people have supported the Cowgirls women's basketball team with prayers, cards, hugs and many expressions of affection. Today they can support them by buying a ticket to watch a basketball game.
by Jenni Carlson Published: November 25, 2011
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STILLWATER — No women's basketball team takes fans for granted. Not Connecticut. Not Tennessee. Not any program.

But none will appreciate its fans more than Oklahoma State will on Saturday.

The Cowgirls return to the court for the first time since a plane crash killed head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna. The days since the tragedy have been filled with tears and hugs and funerals and remembrances of happier times. Healing may have begun, but the wounds are still deep and raw.

Only time will mend them.

But maybe basketball will help.

“There's no better time … to come together as a team and as a unit,” former Cowgirl Shaunte Smith said Monday after the memorial service at Gallagher-Iba Arena. “What this is going to do for them is to show them they have to be there for each other.”

Yet, they don't have to go it alone.

There are 13,611 available seats for OSU's game against Coppin State. Sure would help the Cowgirls to have a bunch of those seats filled.

Even though it will be difficult every time the Cowgirls play this season — Budke won't be there stalking the sideline and Serna won't be there holding that dry-erase clipboard — today will be the toughest of them all. There will be times when the Cowgirls run on adrenaline and click along like nothing has happened. But then there will be times of adversity and struggle when the weight of the crash will threaten to crush them.

Those are the times when they could use a bunch of orange-clad fans to pick them up.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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COPPIN STATE AT OKLAHOMA STATE

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena

TV: None

Radio: KGFY-AM 105.5 (Stillwater)

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