Valley player, coach react to NCAA women's basketball tournament disparities

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Mar 19, 2021

Top basketball players and coaches are responding to the disparities between the men's NCAA basketball tournament and the women's tournament amenities.

Social media posts have gone viral showing the women's weight training facilities in San Antonio are severely lacking compared to what the men have in Indianapolis. The women's weight room consists of a single stack of weights next to a training table with yoga mats. The men's massive facility has free weights, dumbbells and squat racks.

The Arizona's women's basketball team is the number 3 seed in the NCAA championship. It's the Wildcats' first tournament appearance in 16 years. But Friday, coach Adia Barnes addressed concerns about the disparities between the men's tournament and theirs.

"We've never had similar facilities, we've never had similar treatment overall, through the history of all of us playing," said Barnes.

Barnes said she's learned to pick her battles throughout the years, and while there are disparities that aren't fair, there has been progress made. She said since revenue is a big factor, she wants to help grow the game.

"We don't follow women's basketball, we don't support it, we don't push the WNBA so that's the first problem. And then it goes back to money--grow our game. You continue to grow our game, more money more investment."

Thursday, Lynn Holzman, the NCAA Senior Vice President of women's basketball, said the governing board would try to improve the equipment available at the women's tournament.

The statement said, "This was due to the limited space and the original plan was to expand the workout area once additional space was available in the tournament."

Oregon's Sedona Prince and others fired back online, showing a large, mostly empty room in the women's bubble.

Brianna Turner went to the Final Four with Notre Dame three times. She was the 11th overall pick in the 2019 WNBA draft and has been playing with the Phoenix Mercury. She's currently playing in the Russian league. She said when she saw the pictures--she thought it was a joke.

"They had a whole year to come up with something and the fact that those yoga mats and those dumbbells literally my grandma has at her house got approved, they should've said 'we can't do a weight room at all' instead of doing that setup," she said. "It's women's history month and literally in the same breath, in the same month you show up to the tournament like that."

Friday, the NCAA senior VP of basketball apologized "for dropping the ball on weight rooms in San Antonio."

The NCAA said it's addressing other concerns that have been brought up--including limited food options and other tournament-related amenities.

"Maybe it can be an eye-opening moment. Maybe moving forward people can speak out speak up and speak in support of women's sports," said Turner.