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SMC Basketball: Hardcore fans camp out in ‘Belle-topia’

Newbie Freshman | Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Editor’s Note: This article is a part of The Observer’s April Fools Special Section and is not meant to be taken seriously.

SAINT MARY’S, Ind. – In the midst of one of Saint Mary’s best-ever seasons, the campus has caught basketball fever.

At 13-13 (8-8 MIAA), the Belles have as many wins as losses for just the third time in school history, and the crowds at the Angela Athletic Center have never been bigger.

But it isn’t the crowds inside the arena that have attracted attention – it’s the crowds outside.

A group of Saint Mary’s students has taken to camping out the night before the game in order to get the best seats. They call themselves “Belle-topia.”

“We just love Belles basketball!” sophomore Katie O’Katiehan said.

The campouts are organized by the Angela Angels, a group of rowdy students that has its own section at games.

At the all-female school, the campouts have a different atmosphere than those at other major basketball powers.

“When we’re not breaking down the latest MIAA standings or discussing zone defense, we usually talk about boys and clothes,” O’Katiehan said. “Sometimes we do each other’s hair.”

Saint Mary’s coach Jenny Hanraid said the rowdy home crowds have given her team an advantage it hasn’t had in previous years.

“Before, we didn’t have many student fans,” she said. “Unless you count the girls on the treadmills on the second level.”

The Belles have won three straight games at home. Hanraid said the team hopes to increase that total next year.

“We open with Rose-Hulman, and that will be a tough game,” she said. “We’re going to need all the help we can get from our crowd.”