Tourney snub can’t warrant giving up


Many fans, myself included, feel the Women of Troy were snubbed last Monday when the NCAA selection committee did not pick the USC women’s basketball team to compete in the NCAA tournament.

The team should have made it to the tournament for many reasons.

It ended the regular season hot, riding a five-game win streak to a 19-12 record, USC’s best finish since its 19-12 record in 2006, the last time the Women of Troy made an NCAA tournament appearance.

Ten teams USC played against made it into the tournament field, so the team clearly had a tough schedule. USC won four of those games. Also, USC’s 12-6 Pac-10 finish this season was its best since 2004-05.

Additionally, the Women of Troy advanced to the semifinals in the Pac-10 tournament, only to lose a 59-53 nail-biter to No. 23 UCLA, a No. 8 seed in the tournament.

The women’s basketball team, and many USC fans for that matter, had every reason to be surprised when on selection Monday, March 15, the committee decided not to include USC in NCAA tournament competition.

I understand the feeling of shock.

“I was in awe when the last name came up and it wasn’t us,” sophomore guard Ashley Corral said.

I sensed bitterness.

“I can’t tell you why the Pac-10 doesn’t get a lot of respect,” Corral added.

To give up? That’s something that doesn’t sit well with me.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Women of Troy decided to do when they declined an invitation to play in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament following the news that they wouldn’t be in the NCAA tournament.

The athletes and coach Michael Cooper had every right to be angry and upset about the committee’s decision, but what would have been the greatest revenge? How could USC have proved it belonged in the tournament that all college basketball players dream of being a part of without actually competing in it?

Easy.

The Women of Troy could have accepted their invitation to the WNIT and won.

No, a WNIT championship would not have been the same as an NCAA championship, but a dominating USC run in its tournament could have opened the eyes of the selection committee and brought some recognition to USC women’s basketball. And maybe next year, if USC is teetering on the edge of making the NCAA tournament again, the committee would side in favor of USC after recalling the team’s success in this year’s WNIT.

Now there’s no chance that can happen.

Also, playing in some pressure-packed games, albeit not on the biggest of stages, would still help the young players on the team deal with adversity in the future if the team actually does make it into the NCAA tournament in the next few seasons.

But, USC never had the chance to prove it was better than any of the teams that made it or didn’t make it to the big tourney after the team declined to play in the WNIT.

Rather than demonstrate why they deserved to play for a national title, the Women of Troy simply gave up, which isn’t the way any USC team should end its season.

Could you imagine if the football team, after a disappointing 2009 season where it lost four games and did not play in a major BCS bowl for the first time since 2001, decided not to play in the Emerald Bowl because it felt it deserved to play in something better?

I didn’t think so.

And I’m sure the USC men’s basketball team would have died to play in any game after the regular season, even if it was in the NIT, but it didn’t have any say in the matter.

Playing in the post-season in any sport at the college level should be thrilling, even if it is in what many people consider the “loser’s” bracket.

At USC, we expect our athletic teams to always be the best and compete with the best, but if a team doesn’t get the results it wants, it should never just stop playing, no matter how upset or disappointed it feels.

Even more alarming is this isn’t the first time the women’s basketball team has decided to decline an invitation to the WNIT after not making the NCAA tournament.

But I sure hope it’s the last.

“Soft Hands” runs on Tuesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or e-mail Jon at jhaber@usc.edu.

3 replies
  1. NayNay
    NayNay says:

    OK….So its really funny that once again I am reading an article in the DT that is false. I wish I could say this was my first time. But just about everytime, the article is wrong and the details within do not even match the story. It’s pretty clear that the writer of this article has never played a collegiate sport and doesn’t like to do thier research at all. Good luck getting a real job when you can not even get the details right for a simple school newspaper.

    Just like Sara B said, the team generally never has any input in whether or not they will be participating in post season play. You would know that if you actually did some sort of research. Mike Garrett decides this and makes the choice on post season play. The men’s team shouldn’t even be broughten up in this article because they have nothing to do with our women’s team. Who knows what Garrett would have said when they did’t make the NCAA tournament this year. We do not know because it is not up to the athletes.

    I really hope that one of these days I can look and read a sports article in the DT and actually be able to trust the facts written within. I’m not going to hold my breath on that thought….but who knows. Maybe we will find a couple writers that actually know what they are talking about and are willing to take the time to get correct details.

    Goodluck with actually writing a correct article…..Hopefully I see it before I graduate….very doubtful though!!

  2. Sara B.
    Sara B. says:

    Dear Jon and Steve B.,

    I agree that it could have been good for the Women of Troy to prove they belonged in the NCAA tourney by competing in the WNIT, and they really were snubbed by not getting picked for NCAAs. However, I think you should do a little more research before you say that the Women of Troy “gave up” at the end of their season.

    First of all, it is not the girls’ decision whether or not they accept the bid. That is up to Mike Garrett and the coaching staff. I bet if you asked any of the players if they wanted to extend their season and have a chance to win the WNIT, they would eagerly say yes. Therefore, I think it is harsh and unfair for you to imply that they are quitters.

    Also, if you look into it and don’t just assume that they “gave up,” you could possibly find several good reasons for the Women of Troy to turn down the bid to the WNIT. Since you clearly didn’t have the time to do that, let me help you out. For one, playing in any tournament is very costly, and with the budget cuts perhaps the athletic administration didn’t think it was worth it. Another reason is the risk of injury – the team has already struggled through numerous ACL tears, and those types of injuries are more likely at the end of the season when your body is worn out. It could be a good idea for the players to take some time to let their bodies recover so they can come back even stronger for next season.

    The bottom line is, the women of troy did not “give up” and in hearing that I felt like I was reading an article out of a UCLA paper. Next time I hope you will try to discern both sides of the situation, and not portray the women of troy in such and undeserved negative light.

  3. Steve B.
    Steve B. says:

    My sentiments almost precisely. There is no good reason not to have accepted a bid to the WNIT and show others including themselves that they can compete strongly outside the conference. This program has done really nothing for many years (13 ) except two 1st round wins in the ncaa under Coach Trakh in his first two years. Stop being prim a donnas and show your merits on the court.

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