UConn fans in Minneapolis celebrate nearly two decades of dedication – WCCO
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (WCCO) – In the crowd of tens of thousands of fans who made the trip to Minneapolis for the 2022 Women’s Final Four is a group of nearly 20 friends who have spent nearly two decades making the championship game an annual experience.
“In 2004, I had a student who had played for four years at UConn,” said Donna Doherty, who made the trip to Minneapolis from Connecticut. “And I promised him that if they went to the Final Four, we would go.”
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“Other friends found out we were leaving and they wanted to join us,” she said.
Before the canceled tournament in 2020, the group had appeared in 16 consecutive Final Fours – taking them to Indianapolis, Cleveland, Tampa, Nashville and more.
“We’re not going to Las Vegas,” Doherty said. “So these are all the places where we have fun and can do what we want to do, where we want to do it.”
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The group arrived in Minneapolis a few days before Friday’s semifinals and spent time eating and shopping, even taking a trip to the Mall of America.
“We have a waiting list,” said Bev Moran, one of the original band members.
This year, the group’s focus team, the UConn Huskies, have a chance to win it all. Even in years when the team doesn’t have a chance in the Final Four, Doherty says the journey is worth it to experience the growth of the sport.
“It’s the support of women’s basketball,” she said. “Last night we watched the men’s game. What was there, [70,000] people in there? We were 18 [thousand]. People have to understand that women’s basketball is just as important, we think it’s more important, than men’s basketball.
After two years of absence, the group says it is delighted to meet again.
“Life gets in your way when you’re at home and you’re not always in touch. Even though we live close to each other, you don’t always see each other. And that’s the only time we take the time to be together,” she said.
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“It’s like we never left,” Moran said. “And they kill me [laughs]!”