Aztec women are ready to shine on the court for their first WNIT appearance in 10 years
The Viejas Arena in San Diego State looked very majestic even during practice on Thursday, because under the lights some pretty spectacular women graced the court.
The women did what no other Aztec women’s basketball team had done in 10 years: they made the playoffs by advancing to the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). And they play the first game right in their hometown.
Mercedes Staples, senior Aztec guard, well said. “I think those are the moments you live for.”
They have lived this moment and it will all come together on Friday at 6:00 pm against UC Irvine.
“It’s kind of full circle for me,” said her teammate Sofia Ramos. She, too, has been waiting for this moment for a long time, but for her it is bittersweet.
“I think this game is a little more special, just because it’s my last year. This is my first time playing here in the postseason and I have to do it again in San Diego,” Ramos said. “And what has become my home over the past five years. So I think it’s just a little more emotional than anything else.”
Ramos said she didn’t play much this year, but she took one last chance and magic happened. And what will make it even more special is that her family will be in the stands from Texas.
And Abby Prohaska, shooting guard, said reaching that goal during Women’s History Month makes it even sweeter.
“Being a D1 college athlete alone goes a long way. Just doing it here and being able to do it during Women’s History Month is something that I think won’t go unnoticed,” she said. “It’s important for us to really shine a light on our ability to perform and compete like men.”
Stacey Terry-Hutson is the head coach leading this group of athletes who persevered and brought her one step closer to their goal. “Our mantra this year was everything we needed and we knew that all we needed to be successful was our dressing room,” she said.
She said she would like to see more team support in the stands for a group of young women who have been hard at work on the court. “If you’ve been to a men’s match, you’ll see when it’s spinning around here, when it’s packed, our young ladies have been working just as hard as our men’s program,” Terry-Hatson said. “They put a lot of blood sweat and tears into it and it would be a big advantage on home court if we could do it all the way.”
Terry-Hutson said it would be a dream come true to watch the team she coaches play on her home court, in the city where she was born and raised. She said that she needed the support of many people, and support is what women have to give to each other in order to win in life.
“I feel very lucky to have so many people helping along the way and I think our job as women is to help other women get where they want to go,” she said. “If we can continue to uplift and shine a light on women and not condemn or humiliate them, I think that’s how we rise, we do it together.”
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