Longtime hoop fans have probably noticed the change during player introductions.
The traditional tunnel is still made for the starters to run through. But these days, there’s a designated stop at the end. There, the player greets a teammate with a series of gestures that varies from mimicking primping in a mirror to spinning chest bumps.
Meet the Hype Girl.
“It’s important, they’re that person that gets you going right before the game,” said Washington junior Jazmine Davis, who played in the late game Thursday at the Pac-12 women’s tournament at KeyArena. Sophomore Heather Corral, who’s out with a season-ending knee injury, is the designated hype girl for UW.
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Corral’s responsibilities range from a Namaste bow with freshman Kelsey Plum to the “Bernie Dance” with sophomore Talia Walton.
It’s a change that confuses USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. She led the Trojans to NCAA championships in 1983 and ‘84 alongside Cheryl Miller. Cooper-Dyke returned to coach her alma mater this season.
“When I played, no, we definitely didn’t do things like that,” she said. “We didn’t waste energy that way. … I’m shocked that we haven’t twisted an ankle or something from all of the stuff — jumping up, chest-bump, handshake.”
Oregon fired coach Paul Westhead on Tuesday, making the 107-100 loss to Washington State likely his last game with the program.
Westhead, 75, joined the Ducks in 2009, registering an overall win-loss record of 65-90 and a mark of 27-64 in Pac-10/Pac-12 play. His Ducks lead the NCAA in scoring (93.3) but are last among 343 NCAA Division I teams in defense, allowing opponents 89.2.
Oregon could get a Women’s NIT bid. It’s uncertain whether the school would accept a bid or allow Westhead to coach if it did. But Westhead was open to the idea.
“Why not?” he said.
Former Storm coach Anne Donovan sat courtside next to Karen Bryant, the team’s CEO and president. Donovan returned to the WNBA last year as the Connecticut Sun coach and her team possesses the No. 1 overall pick in the April draft.
• Approximately 240 fifth graders through eighth graders from Seattle public schools watched the tournament’s noon game, Colorado vs. UCLA, in the arena’s southwest corner as guests of the Seattle Storm.
Freelancer Terry Wood contributed this report.