Thinking Pink

A season-high turnout of 2,545 was announced for Sunday’s “Think Pink” women’s basketball game against Michigan. That’s 1,005 more than were counted for the team’s home game against Purdue on Jan. 3. The Hoosiers had pink headbands and socks and wore pink warmup T-shirts that were also distributed to the crowd throughout the game. The Wolverines also wore pink warmups, but neither team wore pink uniforms. Apparently, Indiana didn’t place an order that could be filled in time for the game, with upwards of 1,000 schools nationwide participating in the campaign nationwide.

The day was also a celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, which naturally made for a large number of fans that were females of all age ranges coming with their families, friends, spouses, school organizations, significant others, or extracurricular activity peers.

Hoosier coach FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK offered this power-packed quote about the crowd:
“To see all these young girls running around here with their eyes wide open and you have the possibility to inspire them just for a moment, I take that very personal. I said, ‘Lord, please don’t let me say the wrong words,’ because my mouth can be a little bit outlandish at times. But I just look at these young ladies and say, ‘Yep, this could be our future president somewhere in here. This could be our future CEO.’ It’s very important that they understand it’s not a boy sport. It’s a sport…These are phenomenal girls right now. One day, they’re gonna be phenomenal women.”

As for Wolverine coach KEVIN BORSETH, his main point was that these events don’t really have an impact on the game itself, and coaches and players aren’t preparing differently because of the game day promotions:
“No disrespect for breast cancer. I’ve had friends that have had it and have gone through it. It’s obviously a terrible disease that unless your family or yourself are inflicted with it, you don’t really understand the magnitude of it. And it’s good that the WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association supports it because it needs attention.”

And the NGWSD theme had me recalling a feature I wrote last month about Hoosier assistant coaches Jose Mori and Marc Wilson. Though I didn’t include it in that story, I asked both of them what they thought about a woman breaking into the coaching ranks of MEN’s Division I basketball any time soon. In case you didn’t know, Rick Pitino brought the first female onto a DI staff in 1990, when he hired then-Bernadette Locke at Kentucky, where she served for four seasons. Locke, now Bernadette Mattox, is currently on the coaching staff of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun. And a woman HAS coached a men’s DI game, in Feb. 2003 when Tennessee State athletic director Teresa Phillips did one game as a result of a mass suspension following a brawl, including that of the team’s interim head coach.

MORI: “I think it’s doable. I don’t see why not. I think as a society sometimes we think not. It’s like old Hillary (Clinton). If she’s going to win, are people ready for that? I know that they’re more than capable of doing it, just because I’ve been around a lot of great women that are darn good coaches. That’s somthing that I don’t know if a lot of people know. Sometimes they put these guys on pedestals.”

WILSON:“I don’t think there’s ever been anything negative about it. People just wonder, you know, males in the females’ game and there’s no females in the men’s game. But hey, equal opportunity, there could be.”

And Hoosier freshman EBONY JACKSON: “It’s just a men’s thing. It’s a men’s game. I don’t know. I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”

Any thoughts out there, or any other instances I haven’t unearthed?