Indiana University Women’s Basketball parted Bloomington for Bridgeport, Connecticut this afternoon just before 3 pm, where they will face the #2 Connecticut Huskies this weekend in the 2022 NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
The Hoosiers were sent off in style by more than 40 fans of all ages who lined up between Cook Hall and the buses that carried away their team to the Monroe County Airport, where they had a private chartered flight awaiting them.
“I love women’s basketball and want to support the team,” said IU Student Benjamin Harris, who along with several of his classmates, brandished signs of good wishes for the team. “It’s hard now that they have to travel,” Harris added. “So, I’m just doing what I can to show support.”
And the support was greatly appreciated, as the players arrived one by one to load their suitcases and board the bus, all with gigantic smiles on their faces.
“I love this,” said IU Senior Forward Aleksa Gulbe, pumping her fist in the air to acknowledge the fans. “You guys are awesome for coming to support us; here even though it’s a little bit colder today!”
Players, Coaches, and Staffers were all greeted with the same excitement and enthusiasm from the onlookers. The entire team looked relaxed as they prepared to depart for their second consecutive NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance.
Indiana Senior Guard Grace Berger took a quick moment to interact with Hoosier Nation. “I really like this,” Berger said. “We have the best fans in the country.”
And after 9,600 fans came out to provide additional motivation and momentum in their 56-55 nailbiter of a victory over 14th seed Princeton, it would be difficult to debate her in that sentiment. Although a little separation anxiety might kick in now that IU has concluded their 2021-22 home games, the crowd would prefer the parting to last long enough for Indiana to play a second game while visiting Connecticut.
“This is awesome . . . awesome,” IU Head Coach Teri Moren exclaimed, as she was the last of the team to board the bus. “Hopefully, you won’t see us for a while, alright!”
And those final words brought a tremendous cheer from those that took time out of their afternoon to provide love and support to their Hoosiers. The cheering quickly turned into chanting, as the fans repeated, “Go IU, beat the Huskies.”
“We just love their dedication,” mentioned IUWBB fan Anna Maria Kelley after the buses pulled away. “[The players] all talk as if they feel they are family, and support each other, and they just really give it their all. We’ve been following them for years, and just love them.”
The Hoosiers will take on UCONN Saturday, March 26th at 2 pm, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN. The team that wins will advance to play the winner of the #1 seed NC State vs #5 seed Notre Dame match-up, on Monday evening.
The 2022 NCAA Final Four will be held April 1st, and the Championship game on April 3rd, both being held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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