Title IX anniversary week includes big win for women’s basketball

Women’s basketball team brings fierceness and a competitive spirit to the Title IX celebration game

Kathryn Young

The Washington and Lee women’s basketball team shot a season-high 50 percent from the floor in the Annual National Girls & Women in Sports Celebration game on Jan. 30, soundly defeating Randolph College 80 to 50. The game celebrated the 45th anniversary of Title IX, which bars schools from engaging in gender discrimination in all areas of education and athletics.

After scoring the first 10 points of the contest, the Generals did not look back. Katie Popp, ’21, led the way with 22 points and four assists. Stuart Ayer, ’20, led in rebounds with seven and steals with three, while Taylor Casey, ’20, also registered four assists.

Three players scored in the double-digits, including Popp and Captains Emma Redding, ’18, and Emily Perszyk, ’18.

“It was wonderful to see many women come out to our game on Tuesday to not only support women’s basketball, but also to celebrate 45 years of Title IX and all girls and women in sports,” Perszyk said. “It was an honor to be able to play for a game like that.”

Perszyk said the opportunity to participate in college athletics at Washington and Lee has been incredibly rewarding.

“Our school and community have done a great job in supporting W&L women’s sports,” she said. “The opportunity to play Division III basketball while also balancing academics and other activities is something I would not have traded for the world. I have learned so much from my teammates, coaches and peers, and I can’t imagine what college would have been like without them.”

Students from across campus came to support the Generals and celebrate the anniversary of Title IX. Ariyel Yavalar, ’19, a captain of the women’s field hockey team, was one of them.

“So many people came out, not only in support of the women’s basketball team, but in support of women’s athletics at Washington and Lee,” Yavalar said. “To have so many people, including a number of women’s teams, there in acknowledgement of how hard female athletes work on and off the field was amazing.”

The game was only one of many events held this week to commemorate Title IX and women in sports. The festivities included movie showings, poetry readings and a speech by retired soccer star Mia Hamm in Evans Dining Hall.

Yavalar was one of many students who recognized the importance of Title IX in their experiences at Washington and Lee.

“The 45th year celebration of Title IX has opened my eyes to what life was like before it,” Yavalar said. “I would not be playing field hockey, or possibly enrolled at Washington and Lee, if it was not for Title IX. I am so thankful to all of those that gave future generations of women a sporting chance.”

The women’s basketball team bounced back from a two-game losing streak to defeat Randolph, and hopes to maintain its winning momentum.

“Our team has been struggling a lot with confidence and trust, so this big win definitely helped re-open our eyes that we are capable of playing hard and playing together,” said Captain Andrea Ferrero, ’18. “Our team’s goals moving forward are to give everything we’ve got every single day from now until the season ends so that we can win some big games and put ourselves in a good position going into the [ODAC] tournament.”

The Generals return to action Feb. 7 at Hollins College, and will return to the Warner Center on Feb. 14 to play Emory and Henry College.