Spotlight shines on women in sports

Despite loss in intense showdown, athletes celebrate

Sabrina Jiles, Staff Writer

a woman shoots a basketball with defenders in front of her
Photo courtesy of J. Andrew Towell
Guard Ashley Alter shoots near the three point line during the Falcons game against Western Washington, on a night where National Girls and Women in Sports Day was celebrated.

On Thursday, Feb. 6, the Falcons faced off against their rivals, the Western Washington Vikings, at Royal Brougham Pavilion.


Thursday night’s game, however, was not just about women’s basketball. The game was also meant to be a celebration and a time to honor the powerful women not only in Seattle Pacific University sports, but also women in sports in the community, being the Queen Anne, Seattle area.


With signs up in every building on campus and constant posting on the SPU sports social media, there was no missing what the meaning of this night was. During halftime, groups of women walked to half court and were presented with a rose, the crowd cheered and clapped for the women as each of their achievements were announced. The presentation at halftime recognized both the SPU women’s rowing team and women’s cross country team, female coaches, Special Olympics participants and many more. 


Behind the scenes, SPU’s fan engagement and corporate sponsorship manager, Stefanie Kosco, saw her vision come to life for this year’s celebration. 


Kosco said that the celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day dates back to when former president Ronald Regan signed the holiday into effect. This night is typically held Feb. 5.


“I started this vision back in October, knowing that it could be a really cool opportunity to not just celebrate our women that are playing — how great they are — but celebrate the whole community and all the amazing women involved in sports,” Kosco said. 


For Kosco his night not only meant celebrating the women of our community but also bringing awareness to the point that there needs to be more equality in sports for women.


The celebration of this night made the women’s game against Western Washington intense, with packed stands, loud cheers and a close, physical game. The Falcons kept the score very close in the game with the third-ranked team in the conference, all the way until the middle of the third quarter. 


The Vikings went on a 12-0 run against the Falcons that lasted 6 minutes, making the score 56-43. From there, the Falcons could not catch up.


Falcons coach Mike Simonson said that he believed the team executed the offense very well in the first half with big plays from Ashlynn Burgess down the stretch. 


“The third quarter, we hit a dry spell and Western was able to capitalize with interior scoring, we were in catch-up mode the rest of the game,” Simonson said. 


The Falcons lost 77-62. The leading scorers were junior Ashlynn Burgess with 15 points and five rebounds, sophomore Ashley Alter with fourteen points and four rebounds, and seniors Madi Hingston and Hailee Bennett each contributing seven points. 


The Vikings were led by senior Lexie Bland with seventeen points, junior Kelsey Rogers with sixteen points and senior Anna Schwecke with fifteen points.