In an exhibition game to start the 2023-2024 Point Loma Nazarene University women’s basketball season, the Sea Lions played the University of Arizona Wildcats at McKale Memorial Stadium in Tucson, Arizona. It was a hard-fought game for the Sea Lions, on both sides of the ball, against a Division 1 opponent who had a successful season last year.
Katie Scott, a fourth-year transfer and political science major, said that she takes pride in playing exhibition games against programs like the University of Arizona.
“One of the greatest things about going to a school of that caliber is to represent my institution in front of a fan base against one of the top programs in America,” Scott said. “We got a chance to put Point Loma on the map and leave a lasting impression.”
Playing a team with home court advantage usually is the first card of adversity dealt to the opposing team. In this game, PLNU held its ground, playing against this adversity and maintaining its grit with a high-caliber Division 1 program, according to head coach Charity Elliott.
“We handled the adversity of playing in a packed house with a raucous band and fan base as well as we possibly could,” Elliott said. “We didn’t back down or give them anything. We battled for 40 minutes, and that speaks volumes about our leadership on the floor and the players that we have.”
Elliott has prepared her team for this upcoming season to face all sorts of challenges, knowing that an entire season is not a sprint, but a marathon. There are many games to go as this is just the start, and Elliott believes in the path her team is heading up on.
In a press conference with University of Arizona’s head coach Adia Barnes, she recognized the tough fight PLNU put up throughout the game and expressed her thoughts on how her team played.
“Proud of their fight, they gave effort, and they didn’t quit,” Barnes said.
Arizona had limited players available due to injuries, which allowed PLNU to take advantage of its opponents throughout the game.
Tavia Rowell, a fifth-year communication major and transfer from Hawaii Pacific University, capitalized on Arizona’s weak spots and thrived in this high-level environment, scoring a team-high 19 points shooting 7-14 in the field.
“I just went out there and did my thing,” Rowell said. “My team was filled with high energy the moment we got there, and it was just fun and cool to play in an environment like that one.”
PLNU women’s basketball team is hoping to take this momentum and bring it forward to its season opener on Nov. 10 versus California State University San Marcos.