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Utah Women’s Basketball Team Faces Racial Hate Crimes Before Tournament Games



The Utah women’s basketball team encountered distressing incidents of racial hate crimes while staying at a hotel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, ahead of their games in Spokane, Washington. The team, led by head coach Lynne Roberts, was preparing to compete against South Dakota State in the NCAA tournament’s first round when the troubling events unfolded.

Roberts revealed that several instances of racial hate crimes targeted their program, which deeply disturbed the entire team. The unsettling occurrences affected players of diverse backgrounds and left them unsure of how to react. The coach emphasized the reality of racism and its impact, highlighting the need to address such issues.

Despite the challenges, Utah managed to secure a victory against South Dakota State but later faced a defeat against Gonzaga in the tournament’s second round. The team had to address the disturbing incidents and their impact on the players.

Following the alleged racist incidents, the Utes decided to change hotels after spending just one night in the initial location. Roberts expressed gratitude towards the NCAA and Gonzaga for facilitating the move to a new hotel, acknowledging the importance of ensuring the team’s safety and well-being.

Spokane, where the team was competing, was also hosting the first two rounds of the men’s tournament, causing hotel space to be limited. With the Utah and UC Irvine women’s teams also in the area, accommodations posed a challenge.

After certain men’s teams were no longer in competition, Utah and UCI were offered the opportunity to move to the newly available hotel rooms in Spokane. To ensure convenience, police escorts were arranged to maintain a short travel time to the tournament venue.

Throughout their stay in Spokane, the Utah team continued to receive police escorts to ensure their safety. The details of the reported racist incidents remain unclear, but Gonzaga acknowledged the presence of racially disparaging comments and condemned hate speech in any form.

The NCAA, when contacted, declined to provide a comment on the situation, underscoring the serious nature of the events surrounding the Utah women’s basketball team’s experience.

Rachel Adams

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