Success sparks fame, love, date offers

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

Maddy Reed’s friends were incredibly jealous when she told them the SDSU Women’s Basketball team stopped by her girls’ basketball team’s practice a few weeks ago.

“They look like WNBA stars to me because you can look up to them and are like ‘Someday, I wanna be like you,'” said the 10-year-old, who has been attending SDSU women’s games since she was a baby.

The Jackrabbit women may not play for the WNBA, but they have become their own type of stars. Since the team’s Women’s National Invitation berth March 13, they have been splashed throughout local media and people can’t stop talking about these 13 women.

“I suppose you could say they are campus celebrities,” said Nick Hartley, a construction/ building technologies junior. “Everyone knows them as making history for SDSU. Everywhere they will go people will know these girls.”

Complete strangers will approach the women with a “congratulations” or “good luck.” Local children, like Reed, will wait outside their locker room in hopes of an autograph. And sometimes, the women will receive date offers from the crowd.

“It is kind of an awakening experience when little kids come up to you after the game and are like ‘Can you sign my shirt?’ I am like ‘I don’t know if you want me to wreck your shirt by signing, but I’ll sign it,'” junior center Courtney Grimsrud said.

There is good reason for all the attention. The team’s laundry list of accomplishments this season includes being the first transition team to receive a WNIT berth and the first SDSU team to compete in Division I post-season play.

“It was always in the back of my mind that we would play in a post-season tournament and just have that kind of big atmosphere, but never did I think that it would be that popular, that we would have that kind of impact on the community and the state even,” Grimsrud said.

Since the Jacks entered the WNIT, media requests from the players’ hometowns have increased, said Sports Information Director Jason Hove. He said more media coverage was expected based on experience in 2003, when the team won the NCAA Division II Championship. However, requests have been more consistent for this tournament.

“People are looking for more angles and I think that has to do with different teams we are playing,” he said.

#1.883644:2625443534.JPG:IMG_0350.JPG:The Jackrabbit women’s team huddles before the game against Illinois State March 17. The Jackrabbits won the game, 61-48.:#1.883643:3108289509.JPG:IMG_0016.JPG:Jacks junior guard Andrea Verdegan is interviewed during a media conference March 14, a day after SDSU received the nod for WNIT.:#1.883642:110376486.jpg:Grimsrud, Courtney.jpg:Courtney Grimsrud, junior center:#1.883641:2923404739.jpg:maddyreed2.jn.jpg:Maddy Reed, 10, is a passionate Jackrabbit fan and rarely misses a game. Her most prized possessions include a t-shirt signed by Jacks players and a “blessed” basketball signed by her role model