Simmons College, Fisk University preparing for historic basketball game in Louisville
Posted By: Sofía Montiel on January 25, 2023 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There is a historic showdown set in Louisville this week.
On Wednesday, Simmons College of Kentucky women's basketball will host Fisk University at the St. Stephen Baptist Church's Family Life Center. It will be the first game in Louisville between the two HBCUs in more than 100 years.
Fisk University is one of the most historic schools in the country and was founded in 1866. It's the oldest institution for higher education in Nashville and became the first African-American institution to gain accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1930.
Zephaniah Gray is the Lady Falcons senior point guard and leading scorer at 14.5 points per game. Gray is used to playing under pressure, but this week, she and her teammates will make history.
"I really don't think we really have soaked it up yet," Gray said. "I think when we get on this floor, it's going to be like 'wow.'"
Simmons College is ranked seventh in the National Christian College Athletic Association under first-year coach Daniel Price, who played college and professional basketball. In his first year, Price wants his team to play as many HBCUs as possible.
"Having a school like Fisk to come here to be able to play us, it's going to be an amazing game and it's going to bring a lot of energy and fans out to see this game," Price said.
"We are expecting to have this place packed, standing room only."
Jerry Eaves, athletics director at Simmons College of Kentucky, believes its an important game between the two schools. Founded in 1879, Simmons is the only HBCU in Louisville.
"People don't understand in the city of Louisville the importance of HBCUs," Eaves said. "Over 90% of all lawyers and doctors who are African Americans come from HBCUs. And that's why there's such a great need for an HBCU in the city of Louisville."
Eaves, a former UofL and NBA player, says the game gives an opportunity for the teams to showcase their talents.
"This is the first time that there will be an HBCU battle past the Ninth Street Divide, on the only college court past the Ninth Street Divide in the city of Louisville," Eaves said. "It's a big deal."
Simmons College traveled to Fisk earlier this season, losing 62-54. The Lady Falcons outscored Fisk by 10 points in the fourth quarter and went on a late 11-0 run, but couldn't complete a comeback.
"They're ready for this game because they feel like they let one get away, the first game," Price said. "They're very excited."
Price hopes to bring together other HBCU schools next year and create a classic tournament.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Louisville's California neighborhood. The Lady Falcons are ready for a rematch.
"We've been working and this team is at a higher level than us," Gray said. "So it's a challenge for us and also something that we look forward to try to win."
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