While the USF men’s and women’s basketball teams returned to the Chase Center on Nov. 13 for the first time since 2019, a handful of students in attendance had not yet taken part in USF’s takeover of the billion dollar arena.
Dhruvika Randad, a freshman physics major, had not previously been to the latest addition in the Bay Area’s crown jewels of sporting venues, so she was blown away upon walking through the doors. “It’s a really big arena obviously, and it’s really pretty. When you’re sitting up there, it doesn’t look very big, but if you just move down, everything just magnifies almost.”
Randad admitted she is not “someone who actively keeps up with sports, but I thought I probably should now that I’m in college and everything.” She had been waiting since September to attend the event and even roped a few friends into coming out for the night.
USF’s Chase Center Takeover started in 2019 and is in conjunction between the athletics department and the Golden State Warriors. Both basketball games had the distinction of being the first-ever men’s and women’s NCAA basketball games played at the arena.
Unable to host the same event last year due to the pandemic, this year’s return to the Chase Center tinged with excitement for event organizers. Nick Heng, the assistant director of student government, said the event is “building towards what that new sense of normal is. Having something like this again that we’ve done in the past, kind of signaling that things are starting to open back up again.” Heng said that the doubleheader provided students with “an opportunity for everyone to come to the Chase Center and watch the men’s and women’s basketball teams play while being out in the city.”
In between games, students were invited to a reception at the Chase Center’s West Concourse Terrace that offered gameday cuisine classics like burgers, hot dogs, and fries. Aside from free bites, students also picked up USF rally towels that allowed them to either display their school spirit or have something to shake disapprovingly at a referee’s call.
Though a senior, this was also communication studies major Alexandra Shiff’s first time at the Chase Center. She was excited about “having team spirit as a school because I feel like we often lack that. Having events like this allows us to come together and actually experience the school’s team spirit, the support for players, and camaraderie as a whole.”
Prior to the men’s game tipping off, Stephanie Hoye, a sophomore communication studies major, took a moment to bask in the luxuriousness of the Chase Center. “Honestly, my boyfriend’s really into sports, and he said ‘It’s one of the nicest arenas in the NBA, I’m jealous.’ And then I came here, and this is top of the line. I love it,” said Hoye.
The highlight of Hoye’s night was seeing the basketball court which displayed the “Warriors Origins” design, an honor to the 16th and final season that the team played in Philadelphia before moving out west. “That sounds so weird, but it looks so good. I’m so jealous. I think it’s so cool that collegiate players get to play in an NBA arena. That’s awesome,” said Hoye.
Randad saw the night as a unifying experience for the USF community. “I think it’s a wonderful way to connect so many different peers together. Aside from food and culture, I think sports is definitely a big one that unites so many people,” said Radnad. She continued by saying, “I think that’s a great way for people to bond. Not just people who are watching but players as well. You’re coming from so many different backgrounds, but you’re all here, and you’re playing a game together for your school. I think that’s a lovely thing.”