The women’s basketball team is enjoying this season’s home court advantage.
With the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum undergoing a $63 million renovation, home games are squeezed inside the University Recreation Center gymnasium.
“I think the setting that they’re playing in right now is a huge advantage,” Oklahoma State head coach for women’s basketball Jim Littell said. “If I were them, I’d want to play every game in the rest of their existence here because it has a great atmosphere to it. The fans are getting involved and they’re on top of you.”
Junior guard Veja Hamilton said the noise in such a compact area amps up the team and gives them more energy.
“Playing in the rec gives us an edge mentally,” Hamilton said.
Head coach for TCU women’s basketball Raegan Pebley said the close quarters, fans and style of play make it exciting.
“I think people referred to the rec center as the ice box when volleyball played there, but I think it feels like the hot box,” Pebley said. “I mean, the fans are packed in there, everyone is working up a sweat, and things are getting heated.”
Baylor senior Sune Agbuke said playing in a rec center gymnasium reminds her of high school games.
“You can hear all of the fans and besides that, I mean, I think the competition was a little better than high school,” Agbuke said.
Baylor’s women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey agreed. “It reminded me a lot of high school playoffs. Everybody is packing into the gym.”
Mulkey said the rec center might have been one of the most unique places she’s coached in.
“It makes you feel like you’re surrounded by a whole big family,” Hamilton said. “I think that with the people being so loud that it just gives us more energy, excites us more, and we just have a lot more fun.”