New facility gives women’s hoops a home of its own

Coach Pam Borton said the new facility will help the team recruit top players.

by Lora Pabst

The smell of paint and new construction permeates the rooms, which will include a mini-bar, a home movie theater and leather couches.

It isn’t an episode of “MTV Cribs.” It’s a tour of the new women’s basketball locker room facility in Williams Arena.

The new facility opened this week, much to the delight of the team’s head coach, Pam Borton, and the players. They previously shared locker rooms and team rooms with the men’s and women’s gymnastics, wrestling and volleyball teams in the Sports Pavilion.

“It is important to be in the facility where we play and practice,” Borton said.

The new facility includes new locker rooms and bathrooms, coaches’ offices – including an office suite for Borton – a film room and a team lounge room, which will include big-screen TVs and leather couches.

Scott Ellison, associate athletics director for facilities, said the new facility cost $950,000 but the cost was covered by athletics department fundraising.

Borton said the new facility will help her recruit top players from around the country.

“Facilities are one of the top three things (recruits) look at,” she said. “They’re seeing top-notch facilities, and we have to compete with that.”

Borton said the team deserves an updated facility because the women’s basketball team has ranked in the top 20 women’s basketball teams in the country for the past four years.

It was important for this year’s senior players to see the completion of the facility in their final year, Borton said.

“They were my first class I coached,” she said. “They were able to help bring us here and with the success we’ve had, the least we could do is get this done so they could enjoy it.”

Senior captain Shannon Bolden said the new facility is one of many changes the team has made.

“It represents the changes we’ve made with our program,” she said. “We’re an elite program in the country, and we need an elite facility.”

Shannon Schonrock, also a senior captain, said she appreciates the convenient location.

“It adds to Williams (Arena),” she said. “There isn’t a place like this in the country, and now we have a locker room of that caliber.”

Bolden said the team is getting more excited about practice and the season because of the new facility.

The men’s basketball team locker rooms are also being renovated this year. They will be completed at the beginning of November, Ellison said.