The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: Dallas was special indeed

(Writing the first part of this post on Saturday afternoon) Well I didn’t come through with a post from Dallas as promised, but as I have wrapped up my coverage for and gotten back home, I have a few minutes to sit down and try to put all this into words. It was incredible to see the stage that D3 WBB was put on today. It felt high-level, because it truly was high-level, and that was refreshing to see. I get that budget constraints and other factors stand in the way, but man, do I wish more D3 programs would get the chance to experience what Transylvania and CNU experienced, not only today, but this entire week. CNU’s Lauren Fortescue spoke in the postgame press conference about the D-I players at the event treating them as equals, and how much that meant, coming from players who they have watched on TV so many times throughout this year. Those are the types of interactions that this unique championship environment afforded to all of the student-athletes and coaches participating. What happened in Dallas this week is something the players, coaches, and fans from both Transy and CNU will carry into the future.

For me, it was also a very memorable experience. Besides it taking me 15 minutes to find my way to the court (“follow the signs” doesn’t work when there are 15 signs to follow LOL) it was awesome to have the chance to cover such a great game in a large-scale arena. The NCAA treated the media VERY well and the magnitude of the whole thing was very cool. I consider myself lucky to have had the chance to be sitting courtside today, because I had no idea when I got into D3 media three years ago that it would so quickly lead to opportunities like this. God is good.

I wouldn’t have had the chance to cover today’s game without the support of, who allowed me to assist in coverage of the both the men’s final four and the women’s national title game. The passion we all share for #d3hoops is evident, and I’m so glad to be part of this exceptional team.

Another big highlight came in getting to meet so many people who I have connected with via Twitter or Hoopsville or other means of communication over the course of this past season. Gordon Mann and I were side-by-side on press row, and it was a pleasure getting to finally shake hands with him after we’d been on so many Hoopsville Top 25 panels together. Additionally, I was thankful for the chance to connect in person with national committee chair Megan Wilson, who did phenomenal work throughout this entire year and especially throughout this tournament. The entire national committee did an exceptional job and it was great getting the opportunity to meet so many of them over the course of the day. After interviewing Transy WBB HC Juli Fulks multiple times over the phone this year, it was great to have the chance to meet her in person. I really appreciate the support she has given me and our team this season. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Transylvania MBB coach Brian Lane, who is also a huge supporter of the WBB program there. He and I had a good chat and I truly appreciate the passion he brings to Transy WBB. Chip Snively is another one who I’ve gotten to know via Twitter over the last five months and finally got the chance to meet in person today. Such a cool experience…I can’t say it enough.

I’m working on putting together my final Top 25 ballot of the year, and as I walked out of the American Airlines Center, it hit me that the final buzzer of yesterday’s game also marked the final buzzer of the 2022-23 season. It’s been a great year, and I appreciate all who followed along in my national coverage of D-III women’s hoops this season. The encouragement from coaches, fans, administrators, and others was always much appreciated. While it will definitely feel weird without having games to look ahead to for the next six months, I’ll still be here, covering the offseason stories in D3 WBB.

As I sit down to finish this on Sunday, a Twitter debate is playing out. It started with a tweet from a college MBB coach about this “combined championship” thing becoming a yearly occurrence because of the recognition it brought to D2 and D3 basketball. And #d3hoops twitter is now going crazy. Whether traditionalists like it or not, the experience for both CNU and Transy this past week was on a different level. They were validated by playing on the biggest stage in women’s college basketball and did so in front of a large crowd. They walked into the arena on the red carpet. They won’t soon forget all of that. So it begs the question. Why does this have to be a “once in every 13 or 14 years” kind of deal? Why can’t it be something done every three or four years? Why can’t it be the standard? We talk about giving validation to this level of NCAA athletics. This is a fantastic way to do that. I understand there are budgetary constraints, and missed class time, and the question of if it is done for basketball, why couldn’t it be done for every sport. But for anyone who was there yesterday, you know what I mean. Fort Wayne, for the men’s final four, was certainly special. But this took it to another level. Would love to hear from D3 coaches/administrators and get your thoughts on this. Obviously all comments will be kept anonymous, but I just want to hear more viewpoints on this topic. Email is Twitter is: @ZayasRiley…DMs always open.

That’s all I got…turned into a much longer post than I expected, but that’s usually how things go. By the way, if you haven’t already, go check out the postseason recap/deep dive show that Scott Peterson and I did last week. Lots of great insight on some of the more overlooked teams in D3 WBB this year, and some programs to watch out for next season.

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