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Maryland women’s basketball responds to weight room controversy, “disappointed” with original conditions

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The NCAA came under fire for a large disparity in the treatment of men’s and women’s athletes in their respective bubbles.

It’s safe to say that Maryland women’s basketball wasn’t pleased when it first saw the differences between the men’s and women’s amenities at both NCAA Tournaments.

“Extremely unfortunate... obviously the right hand wasn’t talking to the left hand between the two tournaments, I mean that was obvious,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said.

The players at the women’s tournament, who are playing in San Antonio received noticeably worse food options than the players at the men’s tournament, visually less apparel and a “weight room” that managed to just have a few sets of small weights and multiple yoga mats. The men, who are competing in Indianapolis, clearly received the higher quality of just about all of the NCAA’s facilities and items compared to the women.

“Initially, we were just disappointed,” Maryland senior forward Chloe Bibby said of seeing the weight room differences. “But I mean, being women, I think we are conditioned to expect less, and that’s really sad and unfortunate that, you know, that is the reality.”

There was an outpour on Twitter about the differences in conditions outside of other NCAA Tournament players, with notable basketball figures such as Sabrina Ionescu, Steph Curry, A’ja Wilson, Dwyane Wade voicing their displeasure.

“But I think all of the teams and the girls, you know, in this tournament have done a great job using their platforms to initiate that change and you know I am happy with the results and the change that was implemented,” Bibby said. “I mean it shouldn’t have had to happen from the beginning.”

Since the social media outburst about the differences between what the NCAA was able to provide both the men and women, Frese said she is happy with the response from the NCAA leaders. The NCAA vice president of women’s basketball, Lynn Holzman, recently spoke out on how the controversy has opened the conversation about the issues within the sport.

The NCAA has since added an improved workout area so that players are equipped to train for their most important games of the season. It was unveiled on Saturday, a day before the start of first round games.

Despite these differences in amenities being brought into light at the last minute right before the tournament, Frese and the Terps are ready to accept the changes that the NCAA implemented to its facilities in San Antonio.

“I think from our end, you know, we also don’t want to get caught up in noise and distraction,” Frese said. “I mean we also have some great things and we’re in a beautiful hotel, we get to play in this NCAA Tournament.”

No. 2-seed Maryland will face off against the No. 15-seed Mount St. Mary’s Monday at 4 p.m. to kick off the Terps’ tournament journey in the Hemisfair Region. Frese hopes that the positive response from social media and the NCAA will prevent similar situations like this from occurring in the future.

“It’s something I think all of us is as women have experienced somewhere, sometime in our lifetime,” Frese said. “...You hope you get to a point that we don’t need things documented because it’s already being done.”