Women’s basketball fans who thought a day relaxing at McCarthey Athletic Center watching four teams go through their pre-NCAA tournament practice were turned away Friday afternoon.
For those accustomed to previous NCAA tournaments, first weekends for men, regionals for women, that was a first.
“I’m sure Spokane would … have loved to come to McCarthey and support local practices,” Gonzaga associate athletic director Heather Gores said. “But … the women’s basketball committee, given the low attendance in past years, and the added expenses of securing the buildings, thought it was in the best interest to close practice.”
Gores, who is on the NCAA Division I women’s basketball committee, said opening practices to the public means staffing the building like game day. Teams would generally go through an hour of simple drills and joking around before heading off to a serious practice elsewhere.
“It gives the teams the opportunity to have a real practice the day before the game,” she said. “We’d love to support the community, but the opportunity for those teams to actually get some business done in a short period of time instead of leaving … and going to another gym, this puts the team first.”