With the 2023-24 Monmouth basketball season beginning, the women’s team takes a look back at their previous victory season. A season full of surprising wins shocking the entire collegiate basketball world and putting Monmouth basketball on the map. On Nov. 10, 2023, for the first time in forty years, a new banner was unveiled commemorating the women’s triumphant journey and welcoming their new season.
This past March the Hawks entered the Coastal Athletics Association (CAA) as the seventh-seed and made history becoming the first seventh-seed team to win the title. In four days, the team played four games, knocking off the third and second seeded teams and finally defeating the number one-seeded Towson Tigers on their home court. With their victory, they received an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament making their first appearance since 1983.
The team flew out to Indiana where they took on Tennessee Tech in the NCAA Tournament’s First Four game. Unfortunately, the Hawks did not come on top, but their exultant run will go down in history.
After watching a thrilling recap video of their journey to the NCAA tournament the banner was revealed hanging off of the third-floor balcony of the Ocean First Bank Center. Unveiling the banner from the third floor were 2023 basketball alums and champions, Jen Louro, Lucy Thomas, Lovin Marsicano, and Bri Tinsley with cheering erupting throughout the arena. Following the unveiling, the Hawks took on the visiting St. John’s Red Storm.
Knowing that this would be an exciting and tough game for the Hawks, fans filled the arena. Bennie Kanzler, Director of Ticketing and Development stated that, “this game might have been the highest, if not the highest attended paid ticketed game for the women’s team.” Trailing throughout the first three quarters the Hawks came back to secure the win in the fourth only allowing the Red Storm to score 9 points while the Hawks countered with 24 points in the fourth.
The final score was 74-69, giving the Hawks their first win of the season. Kanzler traveled with the Hawks last March during their winning streak. She was at the CAA championship game sharing that, “The energy was electric and the same energy is already transferring to this season.”
In the close game with St. John’s that same electric energy from the CAA championship was certainly present. This home opener game helps set the mood for the rest of the home games. Kelly Valentine, Associate Athletic Director for Marketing and Promotions, is already seeing a difference in this season from a marketing perspective. She stated, “an award like this brings in a new opportunity to marketing, there’s a lot of momentum and we’re going to keep it going.”
Winning a championship immediately widens the marketing perspective. Fans want to be entertained and on the edge of their seat during a game. Valentine said she sat down with head coach Ginny Boggess before the season started. She recalls that Boggess told her to “play off the momentum”. The Hawks have most definitely given fans something to look forward to that Valentine will continue to use to her advantage. Brady Weaver, Director of Creative Content for Monmouth Athletics, is also excited for the season. He is expecting to see even bigger turnouts at the games as the season goes on. “Vibes are happy and high,” which are factors he knows will contribute to a successful season. Having the ability to hang a new banner shows visiting teams, visiting fans and Hawks fans that Monmouth basketball is ready to show what they are made of.
What some people might not know is how important student help is to athletics at Monmouth. From radio and television production to event staff and athletics marketing, most of it cannot be done without the help of MU students. Kylie Schadt, an Athletics Marketing Assistant, and member of the “Shadow Squad” is a part of game day production throughout athletics.
Because of her position, Schadt attends almost every game. She can already see the impact that the new banner and championship title has had on game attendance. “It’s exciting to see the community come together and cheer on the team, I really enjoy seeing the behind-the-scenes of a game day as well as making a fun environment for fans,” her enthusiasm towards the new season was shown throughout the game with her desire for Hawks success.
Shadow the Hawk is a key aspect of marketing. Shadow was present throughout the CAA tournament and traveled to the NCAA game, “It’s been a thrilling year, winning a conference championship holds weight and will hopefully create a welcoming feel to the community.” There is no doubt that the women’s team has impressed everyone. After making history, all Hawks fans are inspired and eager for the new season.