but perhaps the most significant was the one in Stillwater, where the women’s team took to the court for the first time since the death of head coach Budke and assistant coach Serna.
From ESPN’s Brandon Chatmon: Cowgirls return to court with a win
On Saturday, the Cowgirls wore patches on their uniforms of the number “4” that featured the initials of each crash victim and the date of the accident stiched onto the number. Coppin State players wore orange T-shirts emblazoned with the number “4” during their pregame warmups.
“Today was much deeper than the basketball part of it,” OSU interim coach Jim Littell said of the Cowgirls’ 59-35 victory over Coppin State at Gallagher-Iba Arena. “We had a chance to pay honor today.
Writes Jessica at Swish Appeal: Oklahoma State 59, Coppin State 35 – “The healing process, I believe, started today.”
After the last buzzer sounded and the tradition of singing the alma mater at midcourt was finished, another round of applause was given, another moment of celebration was had – and this one all the more personal. In something I have never in my life seen before, the entire team, players and staff alike, went directly up in the stands to the Budke family and gave hugs to Kurt’s wife, three children and parents.
“It really meant a lot to all the girls,” Lindsey Keller said of the moment in the stands after the game. “It was for him (Budke) and Coach Serna and we just want to honor them and show our respect. We love them.”
Gina Mizell at News Ok writes: Reflecting on the Oklahoma State women’s basketball tragedy
I’ve learned a lot about the school that I cover during the past week. I’ve learned what made Budke and Serna special people, and hearing others talk about them made me wish I had gotten to know them. But I’ve learned more about the Oklahoma State people. I’ve seen what a tight-knit, passionate group it is all throughout football season, but this tragedy has really shown how supportive and loyal Cowboys and Cowgirls are to their school and each other. That is what’s going to get the OSU faithful through yet another extremely difficult time.
Moments before the start of a basketball game that was about so much more than a basketball game, the big screen at Gallagher-Iba Arena flashed to the home bench.
There were smiles. There were laughs.
There was joy.
From Jimmie Trammel at the Tulsa World: Cowgirls play emotional first game since coaches’ fatal plane crash
During a postgame press conference, OSU president Burns Hargis’ voice cracked when he acknowledged the Budkes’ presence at the game.
“The week they have had would devastate any of us,” Hargis said. “And for them to come out and support these girls was, I think, wonderful.”