Jamelle Elliott joined a University of Connecticut basketball program that, at the time she signed, was building from scratch. She helped create a championship culture that is the model for schools across the country.
Amy Waugh tore her Achilles early in her junior season at Xavier. Instead of redshirting, she rehabbed her way back into the starting lineup that same season and helped lead her team to the Elite Eight.
These are the coaches who will face off December 2 in the Women's Crosstown Classic between UC and Xavier at Fifth Third Arena. If the determination and drive of the coaches are examples, this should be a good one. Of course, the annual game is a showcase for the two schools, but also serves as a showcase for women's sports.
For the last seven years, the goal has been to sell out the game, and there are a couple of reasons for that. First, of course, it's a great boost to the players to perform in front of a packed house. It gives a little more spring in their step, a little more energy on court to have thousands of fans in the house.
Secondly, it's a way to expose young girls in the Greater Cincinnati area to what is possible. I know if I had not seen women like Phyllis George, Gayle Sierens and Andrea Joyce covering sports on television, it would never have occurred to me that I would have an opportunity to do the same. It is vitally important that young girls, especially those playing on elementary or youth league teams, see what can happen if they stick with the sport.
And third, it's a way for girls' teams to have a chance to win new uniforms for their programs. Through the generosity of one of the Classic sponsors, TQL, teams who attend will be entered in a raffle to win new uniforms. At least five teams will win.
So if you have a daughter or granddaughter who loves basketball, take the time to bring her to the Women's Crosstown Classic on December 2. She'll see two coaches who have been fortunate enough to succeed in the highest levels of the game and who now are passing on their passion for the sport to the next generation. She'll also see student-athletes, many of them from the Greater Cincinnati area, who are taking advantage of their opportunity to play the sport they love. And she may see her future as well.