From the Heartland: Everybody loves a winner?

With all the recent talk in The Hatchet about school spirit – or the lack thereof, here at G-dub – I’ve noticed a common theme: “If we had a winning team, then I’d have school spirit.”

To these students I ask, would you support a basketball team that has won 20-plus games 11 times in 12 years? Would you support a team that has made nine NCAA tournament appearances in that time and has two active players in the career 1,000-point club?

Yeah, sure you would. But we can only dream such things at GW, right?

Wrong. Many people seem unaware of just how good the women’s basketball team really is. They have been one the top 25 teams in the country for a little more than a decade now. And it is an absolute travesty that so few people know or care.

A couple weeks ago, my colleague Jeff Nelson used this forum to sell you on an investment, “the GW Men’s Basketball Bandwagon.” Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate his efforts and think the men’s basketball team is a worthy investment. But I’ve got a much better deal. It is not an investment. You will require no patience to allow this asset to appreciate.

You don’t have to wait generations, years or even months, this sale offers an immediate return. But apparently only about 855 people know about this “sure thing.” A few selling points? Listen up.

Despite their recent loss to Xavier Sunday, the women’s basketball team is not struggling this season. In fact they haven’t really struggled at all for the past 14 years. This year the team is well on its way to its 12th 20-win season in almost as many years, capping off an 11-game win streak with a drubbing of Dayton last week.

A couple days later, Ugo Oha became the second player on the team to score her 1,000th career point this season in the quadruple overtime loss to the Xavier (actually the second player that weekend as Cathy Joens scored her 1000th vs. Dayton that Friday). And yet, their average attendance at the Smith Center is a pathetic and paltry 855.

Need more convincing? Oha is a junior. I repeat: she is only a junior and she is dominant on the defensive end of the court – does Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year mean anything? It is almost impossible for anyone to get a shot past her. She is the A-10 leader in blocks, with 51, well in front of her closest competition at 37.

But she can’t be stopped on offense either, averaging more than 15 points per game and shooting more than 50 percent from the field. She is a legitimate All-American candidate this year, and did I mention she’s only a junior?

Then you have Cathy Joens. Joens is an absolute star. In just her third year of play (she missed her sophomore year with an ACL injury) she scored her 1,000th career point last weekend. She is deadly from anywhere on the court, with a 44 percent field goal percentage and is better than 40 percent from behind the three-point line. She leads the team in scoring and is virtually tied for the lead in assists. Joens is the reigning A-10 Player of the Week and is another All-American candidate on the team.

Then you’ve got Anna Montanana. Anna who, you ask? Shame on you. You ought to know someone who has taken this team by storm. Head coach Joe McKeown has called her the best all around player on the team She leads the team in assists (68) is practically tied for the lead in rebounds and is third on the team in scoring. And she is only a sophomore.

Not to mention Lindsey Davidson, Erica Lawrence, Marsheik Witherspoon … the list goes on and on.

And at the helm is the steady Joe McKeown, who brought the program to its height. He’ll tell you it’s the people around him. He’ll tell you the players are already so talented by the time they come here. Obviously there’s some truth there. But the coach steers the ship. McKeown’s expert hand has guided this program to national prominence. It’s just too bad more people around the country have taken notice than in our own backyard.

But that can change. The women have six games left before the postseason, four at the Smith Center. One is Thursday night at 7 p.m., against UMass. And there’s another Saturday night against Duquesne. Go out and get crazy. As my colleague Jeff suggested, chant bull**** after every bad call.

Just go, get to know this team and support them. They’re talented. They’re exciting. And they offer an immediate return. They win.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.