Men still dominate press row

In a crowded room of approximately 75 sports reporters attending the Providence College press conference at the Big East Tournament semifinals, four of them are women.

In a strictly male-dominated industry, women are starting to break through into the sports media world. However, that was not always the case, and some female reporters still say that there is a tremendous lack of women covering sporting events.

In major publications today, a dramatically higher number of men work in sports. At USA Today, only 10 of the 72 staff members are women. At the Los Angeles Times, only five of the 37 sports staff members are women.

Ava Wallace, a college sports writer for the Washington Post, said that during college she was the first female sports editor for the Daily Northwestern in years. She said that most of the scrutiny she gets about being a female sports reporter comes from the fellow reporters.

“I think that, especially the older ones, they aren’t used to working around women,” Wallace said. “They’ll make comments about your appearance or say things like, ‘Oh we know why you were able to get that quote.’ It all sticks out in your mind no matter how many times it happens.”

A former female sports writer who attended the press conference, but could not use her name in the article for fear of retribution from her employer, said that when she was working as a sports writer, she was never thought of as being a writer.

“When I was writing, there were no women doing it at all,” she said. “When I was covering games here, veteran sports writers like Dick Young and others thought I was the waitress and were asking me to get them sandwiches and stuff. I had to be more patient with people, and I just had to know my stuff.”

Shannon Russell, who has now been in the media industry for 19 years, used to be the Xavier beat writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Today, she works at the The Athletic. She said that when she walks into stadiums to cover games, some people think twice about letting her in.

“I can’t tell you how many times people will triple check my credential because they think I’m not supposed to be here, but it’s been like that my entire career,” she said.

For some women in the field, one of the toughest things can be attending large events and press conferences where they are the only women in the room. Wallace said that it sticks out to her, especially when covering football.

“It is a really regular thing to look down a row at a press conference and look around and see there are no women in here,” Wallace said. “Everyone is a white man, and there’s not a lot of women of color. It’s something you see because every time you walk into a room, it’s the first thing that jumps out at you.”

Russell said that even though things aren’t perfect, she has seen an improvement in the amount of women in the sports media industry since she first started working in 2002.

“When I first started covering the Cincinnati Bengals, there were no women there,” Marshall said. “Now in 2017, I’ll go into the locker room and we’ve got lots of women. I’ve seen it grow tremendously.”

Russell said that if there is any hint of gender discrimination, she still comes to work confident that she can do her job.

“I think that I go in with a stiff upper lip knowing that I’m supposed to be here,” Russell said. “I’m an award-winning writer and I think it depends on the situation. At Madison Square Garden, you’ve got security and bouncers who maybe aren’t used to seeing so many women, and then they pause, but I still have to make sure that my [credentials] are out.”

The woman whose name cannot be mentioned said she thinks that women can break through the industry even more in the future.

“I have daughters, and the thing that’s different about your generation was that you were raised by women like us, so you should get after it,” she said.

Providence knocks off Xavier in overtime

For a consecutive night, the Big East Tournament and the Providence Friars treated fans to an overtime game.

Providence College (21-12) knocked off No. 3 Xavier University (28-5) in the semifinals of the tournament 75-72.

Sophomore guard Alpha Diallo and senior forward Rodney Bullock paved the way for the Friars with 17 points each. For the Musketeers, graduate student forward Kerem Kanter led the team with 18 points.

The Musketeers jumped out to an early 14-7 lead after sophomore guard Quentin Goodin had a steal and a driving dunk. Another steal and dunk by freshman guard Paul Scruggs forced Providence to call a timeout after trailing by eight with 11:48 left in the first half.

With 7:43 remaining until halftime, the Musketeers led 28-12. Providence started to claw its way back and go on a 10-4 run to be down 33-22.

At halftime, Xavier extended its lead to 14 as they led Providence 43-29. Scruggs led the way for the Musketeers with 13 points while also shooting 100 percent from every category in the first half. For the Friars, Bullock led the way with nine points and three rebounds.

Xavier maintained a double-digit lead throughout the first seven minutes of the second half until Diallo scored to pull the Friars within nine points.

The momentum shifted in Providence’s favor after a tough shot by senior guard Kyron Cartwright. With 8:06 remaining in the second half, Xavier had seven turnovers compared to Providence’s five. A quick basket by freshman center Nate Watson pulled the Friars within four with 7:41 remaining.

Driving down the lane, Cartwright had a dominating dunk to put the Friars down by a basket. A quick bucket by Bullock led to a tied game at 64 with 3:33 remaining.

The game stayed scoreless for over a minute until Bullock was fouled and made two free throws. With one minute left, Bullock stepped up to the free throw line and hammered home both shots. Cartwright sank another pair of free throws to tie the game up 68 with 12.3 seconds remaining. In the final seconds, Xavier failed to score, driving the game into overtime.

Diallo handed Providence the lead in overtime with a floater to lead 71-70. After a series of missed shots by the Musketeers, Cartwright drained a jumper to take a commanding three-point lead with 49 seconds to go. Xavier senior guard Trevon Bluiett made two free throws to trim the Friars’ lead to only one with 40 seconds remaining.

“When we came out at the start of the half, I had a conversation with Makai [Ashton-Langford] and I told him I needed him to help me,” Cartwright said. “Without him driving to the basket and making plays, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did at the end.”

Cartwright took a charge to give the ball back to Providence for the last possession. Diallo was fouled with 5.7 seconds left and drained both free throws to take a three-point lead. With the clock winding down, Kanter lofted a shot from behind the arc, but not before the shot clock expired, and the Friars upset Xavier in the final seconds.

“We talk about how hard these guys work,” head coach Ed Cooley said. “Along with the excitement that’s in this building and all of the skepticism when we launched the league and you know, god bless the Big East.”

The win puts Providence at 21-12 overall. The Friars will face off against the winner of Villanova University and Butler University in the championship game at 6:30 p.m. March 10.