Bearcats Host National Girls & Women In Sport Event

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University hosted National Girls & Women In Sport Day on Saturday, Feb. 20, in conjunction with the women's basketball game versus Pacific University. The Salem Swish, a youth girls basketball team from Salem, joined fifteen Willamette female student-athletes for a night of fun.

During the game, members of the Salem Swish team sat with current female Bearcat athletes to watch the action. At halftime, Willamette female student-athletes from all sports joined the Salem Swish on the court for a shoot around. The youth team enjoyed the opportunity to show off their skills during several games of bump.

"It was great for the young girls to interact with our student-athletes and learn about sports they may not have been introduced to previously. It was also good to see them show their stuff out on the court," commented Leslie Shevlin, head swimming coach and organizer of the event. "For our student-athletes, it was a good reminder of one of the reasons they do what they do, to set a good example."

After the game, the young girls had a chance to get autographs from current female student-athletes, including members of the women's basketball team. For many of the Willamette athletes, this was their first time signing autographs for fans.

"Some of the athletes have never "signed an autograph" before and I think it made them feel special and looked up to. It also shows that no matter whether you win or lose, those girls were so excited to get the autographs. They didn't care about a score, they just knew they were going to get to meet a Willamette student-athlete," said Shevlin.

Overall, the event was a great success. Willamette plans to continue to celebrate the day each year and hopes to increase attendance and participation in the future.

Girls from a youth basketball team in Salem wait at the autograph table during the National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration.

Girls from a youth basketball team in Salem wait at the autograph table during the National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration.

Group photo of some of the participants in the National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration.

Group photo of some of the participants in the National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration.