SAN DIEGO, CA- February 22, 2018- The UC San Diego Intercollegiate Athletics, in conjunction with the Black Resource Center, sponsored an event that took place at the RIMAC Arena Skybox in celebration of Black History Month. The event, an annual celebration, took place during the games between the UCSD men’s and women’s basketball teams against California State University Dominguez Hills and was a superb display of community and camaraderie between the two departments of UCSD.
“It’s one of our celebrations for Black History Month,” Director of the Black Resource Center Porsia Curry said. “A lot of times during Black History Month we try to collaborate with different departments and units on campus, so that everyone has an opportunity to celebrate and this is a good opportunity, not only for us to celebrate Black History Month, but also to support our athletes.”
Megan, an intern at the UCSD Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, feels that community at UCSD is important for cooperation between the many departments at the university. “It shows community at UCSD and that different entities can come together and make a special event for students and faculty and staff,” she said. “It shows that athletics and our community centers have a good relationship, and it’s a two-way street for us. We have them come here, and they can use our facilities and have a good time, and we can use their resources, and it’s a mutual relationship.”
“I think it’s important that we try as an Athletics Department to bring people together and create the sense that we’re all Tritons,” Deputy Director of Athletics Wendy Taylor May said.. “So, for us it’s about inclusion and connection as Tritons and to be able to build that community through that connection.”
In the booth, attendees enjoyed free food and refreshments, as well as giveaways, which included sunglasses, BRC wristbands and more. In the Skybox, music was played throughout the game. Fans were also treated to the UCSD pep band, which played several songs from the ‘80s like “Word Up!” by Cameo, in addition to rock hits from the ‘60s such as “Louie, Louie,” by The Kingsmen. The UCSD dance team also entertained fans on timeouts and at halftime.
The guests and fans of UCSD women’s basketball were treated to an entertaining game in which the UCSD women’s basketball game trounced the CSUDH Toros, 90-63.
The women’s team, which shot at a sizzling 73.3 percent, were led by sophomore forward Mikayla Williams, who scored 21 points in 31 minutes. Women’s basketball Coach Heidi VanDerveer, delighted after the win, underlined the importance of diversity and inclusion. “Athletics can be a bridge to different organizations on campus,” VanDerveer said. “We’re very excited about the Black Resource Center and teaming with them during Black History Month. This is an important time in our nation and to have an understanding of what it means for our kids and for the university as a whole.”
VanDerveer encouraged students of all backgrounds to attend and support the UCSD women’s basketball team. “I think coming to watch us play would be a great place to start,” she said. “We play an exciting brand of basketball, we’re up tempo, we’re very unselfish, we work very hard and offer the casual basketball fan or a person looking for something to do on a Thursday or Saturday night or even next Tuesday, specifically (the quarterfinals) to come to RIMAC.”
The men’s basketball team treated its fans and guest to a thriller of a game that went wire to wire with many lead changes. Unfortunately, the Tritons lost to the Toros 77-76 on a buzzer beater. Although fans were disappointed, they were treated to an extremely exciting contest.
“We just couldn’t come up with enough stops,” UCSD men’s basketball Coach Eric Olen said. “We did force some tough shots, but we let a lot of good players get going.” However, the significance and importance of the game was not lost on Olen. When asked about the celebration of Black History Month and UCSD Athletics, Olen had a candid response. “I think it’s terrific,” Olen said. “It’s a diverse place and we certainly want to celebrate that. I think it’s a great time, it’s Black History Month and as a basketball coach in a sport where there’s a lot of Black athletes, we certainly want to make sure that we recognize that, and we’re really proud to be associated with the Black Resource Center and do that on this night. We obviously wanted to get a different result, but those things are important to us and we want to support it.”
Scott Flanders, Assistant Athletics Director of Communications, UCSD, maintains that sense of community, which involves diversity and inclusion is important in today’s society. “It goes back to creating a campus community and keeping everyone in the loop with athletics and hopefully, getting everyone excited to come here,” Flanders said. “That’s what we try to do, get ourselves out in the campus community and try to unite everybody.”