For the first time, two women’s basketball teams from Historically Black Colleges or Universities will face off in Wichita in an exhibition match.
At a news conference Monday morning, the Black Women Empowered In Wichita group announced its plans to partner with Langston University National Alumni Association’s Wichita chapter to host the match.
The event will showcases athletes from Langston University and Lincoln University. The Midwest Classic Women’s Basketball Exhibition Game will be at Wichita North High School at 3 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Emile McGill, president of the Langston University National Alumni Association’s local chapter, said the event was many years in the making.
“We actually planned to make this happen because ... in Wichita we knew there’s never been an historical black college basketball (exhibition,)“ McGill said. “It’s never been seen here so we know that it’s going to be of interest to a lot of people.”
The process began when Mary Dean, president of Black Women Empowered In Wichita, approached the alumni association with the vision of co-sponsoring a basketball exhibition featuring two basketball teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities
One of the key components to planning the event was finding a gym in Wichita that met the requirements for the college basketball game. Luckily, Wichita North’s new gym was the right fit.
Initially, the game was supposed to occur last year, but due to some obstacles, it fell through. McGill said they went back to the drawing board and she’s excited that it’s finally happening this year.
“We’ve reached it, and we’re close to the finish line so we’re looking at it with all excitement,” McGill said.
The weekend, which includes a gala at the Holiday Inn Select on Rock Road, is really about raising awareness for Historical Black Colleges as well as raising money for scholarships for local students. All the proceeds from ticket sales for the gala will go toward a scholarship fund.
“We also want to look at it as an avenue for us to be able to raise scholarships (and) money so that we can give to our youth of Wichita,” McGill said. “It’s just sort of to bring awareness that there are other options (for college) and really close within Wichita’s reach.”
McGill said there’s always been a rivalry between the two universities because both of the schools are Historically Black Colleges or Universities, also known as HBCUs, and both have the initials LU.
“It’s basketball season so I’ll always be excited about that and especially being an HBCU classic,” Elaine Powell, interim head coach of Langston University’s women’s basketball team, said. “We’ve been meeting, trying to get it together for (a lot of years) so it’s only a matter of time before we play.”
While nothing is certain, Dean said she wants to see the exhibition become an annual event. She said she also wants to see other regional historically black schools added to the exhibition in the future.
McGill and Dean hope to see a big turnout.
“We are asking the community to come out and support us and really, bring your whole family because it’s something for everyone to be apart of,” McGill said.
Ticket prices have not been set yet, but McGill says they’ll be about $10 a person.
For more information about tickets, email Black Women Empowerment In Wichita at email@example.com.