Filed by Mallory Carra
CHARLESTON, S.C. Im watching the Mocs play College of Charleston in the North Charleston Coliseum. Fifteen minutes ago, I was watching the Lady Mocs ahead of Furman 31-20 at The Citadel and Ill have no idea how itll end.
There are many UTC fans who feel the same way, forced to make a tough choice today with both womens and mens games overlapping in two different arenas in two different parts of Charleston. Some plan to try to attend both games, but some have made their choice between the two teams.
Im a fan of the women and Ive been a fan for 10 years, said Chattanooga resident Rick Beruee, who was sitting in the stands with his wife Jean, attending their sixth SoCon tournament. Its a much finer and purer game than the mens game. I dont plan on going over to the mens, and I probably wouldnt go anyway.
Also sitting in the large crowd of UTC fans in The Citadels McAlister Fieldhouse was former Lady Mocs point guard Katie Galloway, who came to the tournament with her family to see the UTC seniors, the last class she played with, take on their last SoCon tournament. Galloway graduated in 2004 and now coaches basketball at Tullahoma High School.
I want to support them and get them through the tournament, she said. So were going to focus more on the women, but I enjoy watching both.
But some fans choice is to do both, making their way up to North Charleston to support the men against Charleston.
Were going to stay until the women are comfortably ahead, said Fred Obear, a former UTC chancellor who came to Charleston from Chattanooga with his wife Ruth to see the tournament. Usually the pairings dont conflict, but you cant avoid it. Well do both, since the games arent that far apart. Hopefully the women are ahead by that point. Its hard to be at two places at once.
He even came early to see Western Carolinas 80-71 win over Appalachian State to see former Lady Mocs assistant coach Kellie Harper coach her Lady Catamounts.
Were big Kellie fans, Obear said. I went over before the game and gave her a big hug.
Even the UTC band decided to do both games, though a smaller amount of band members are playing for Lady Mocs, said Stuart Binkert, director of bands.
We have 26 (band members) at the mens game and 18 here for the womens, which is why we look smaller today, Binkert said. The university was very understanding that we needed extra money to send one band earlier. We solved it.
Since the Mocs have separate cheerleading squads for mens and womens teams, the overlap was even easier to solve, said Kimmie Sruggs, head of cheerleading. But unfortuately for the Lady Mocs, Scrappy was sent to the mens game.
The scheduling fustrated retiree Lee Godfrey, also planning to make a trip to North Charleston once the Lady Mocs have their game under control, he said.
I wish the SoCon couldve swapped the games so the fans could see both games, but I dont think the conference thinks about helping fans out and sticks to their policies, Godfrey said. Im not saying to change the brackets, but just to change the times of the games.
Hixson resident John Graham and his family hoped to make it to the second half of the mens game.
Were going to have to decide whether we stay for the second half or go to the mens game, he said. It would be nice to go to both. Well have to see what the score is here.
When the Lady Mocs led at the end of the first half, almost the entire section of Mocs fans dressed in bright yellow stood up and walked out. Some where headed to the concession stand Im sure, but most went out to their cars and headed for North Charleston.
E-mail Mallory Carra at email@example.com