EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Tuesday night was a chance to get a first look at the University of Evansville men’s and women’s basketball teams ahead of the 2023-24 season. At ‘Meek’s Madness’ at the Meeks Family Fieldhouse, the Aces went head to head in a series of games and contests to engage the fans in attendance, eager to watch their teams on the hardwood.
A 3-point competition featured Alana Striverson, a junior guard, who knocked down 18 triples in the final round. Her competitor, sophomore Cam Haffner, connected on 26 in the final round to win the shootout. But this was not Striverson’s first rodeo at Meek’s Madness and she enjoys every second of it.
“Yeah, I mean the community shows out every time,” Striverson said. “They just really had good energy here today and they’re excited to be here. We’re excited to be here. And we just appreciate everybody showing out to support our men’s and women’s teams here.”
There was also an impressive dunk contest between three skilled athletes in French senior, Yacine Toumi and two freshmen in Chuck Bailey III and Braylon Jackson. Everyone showed some pop but Bailey III came out with the crown.
Fifth year Kenny Strawbridge Jr. loves the festivities every year and for him, it never gets old.
“It’s refreshing,” Strawbridge said. “Just being announced. I know a lot of younger guys by their first time seeing the crowd and seeing our fans and our home base. So it was it was kind of surreal knowing this is my last time, just hearing the love from the fans, but I loved it.”
Last season, the men’s and women’s basketball teams combined to go 7-33 in conference play, with six of those wins coming from the latter. But Meek’s Madness is a chance to begin anew and show the fans there is always improvement. After all, this time of year is exciting as the season is visible on the horizon.
“When it starts to get cold outside you know, it [has] to be basketball time,” Strawbridge Jr. said. “It’s good to show the fans what we got this year. A lot of star shooters and got a lot of high fliers. So we are just trying to show the fans a little insight of the team. We just want to have fun tonight. Nothing too crazy.”
The first men’s basketball scrimmage is against Wabash on Saturday, Oct. 28 while the women’s basketball team will scrimmage Oakland City on Thursday, Nov. 2.