Utah women's team suffers 'racist hate crimes' during NCAA Tournament

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The Utah State women's basketball team was forced to change hotels while playing in this year's NCAA Tournament due to what coach Lynn Roberts described as “racist hate crimes toward our program.”

Roberts made her comments after Utis' statements. 77-66 loss to Gonzaga In the second round of the tournament.

“We had several instances of some type of racist hate crimes toward our program,” Roberts said after Monday's loss. According to the Salt Lake Tribune. “It's very upsetting for all of us. You know, you think that in our world of athletics and college, it's shocking — like there's a lot of diversity on campus, and so you're not exposed to that as much.”

Roberts did not provide any details, but he said that the events occurred on Thursday evening after the team entered its hotel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, about 30 minutes from its host Gonzaga's stadium.

According to an incident report from the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, the team members had gone out to dinner when two pickup trucks “revved their engines and sped alongside the team” as they drove down the street.

The report continued: “The trucks then turned around and headed back towards the team and shouted ‘no’ at them because many of their players were African-American.”

Roberts said the team moved out of the hotel on Friday — the day of its first-round game against South Dakota State — as the NCAA and Gonzaga helped find a new hotel.

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Gonzaga Athletic Department Issue a statement After the match, she condemned “hate speech in any form.”

“We are disappointed and deeply saddened to learn that what should always be an amazing visitor and tournament experience has been compromised in any way by this situation, as it in no way reflects the values, standards and beliefs we hold at Gonzaga University,” the statement said.

Roberts described the situation as “disturbing and unfortunate” and said the events made her players feel unsafe during what should have been a happy occasion.

“It is unfortunate that there is some kind of neglect of this experience,” Roberts said. “So the shock is like, 'Wow, I can't believe this happened.' Yeah, I think this happens a lot. It doesn't get talked about enough.”

Contributing: Brent Schrotenboer

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