West Lafayette, Ind. (WLFI) - The women's NCAA basketball tournament kicked off Saturday afternoon at Purdue's Mackey Arena. Players were sweating it out on the court, competing for the right to move on in the tournament. However, on Saturday, the competitors extended to more than just the court. They were on the sidelines, and in the stands.
"That's how cheerleading is," said Purdue cheerleader Kyle Pratt. "You just try to be the best and show everybody up."
"We try to yell louder, we try to play louder," said Purdue band member Bryan Sparlin. "That is definitely huge. Once the game starts, we're competing with the other band."
Off the court, it's the battle of the bands and the clash of the cheerleaders. This competition isn't measured by numbers on a scoreboard or statistics on a sheet of paper. It's measured by voices.
"We've been told by our instructor if we're not loud, if we don't keep it up, if we're not giving our team 100 percent, we won't be traveling beyond that," said Sparlin.
Purdue cheerleader Ashley Cordes said they compete using their voices as well.
"We try to be loud, do more cheers than they do," said Cordes. "Try to get our crowd more pumped up than their crowd so our basketball team performs better."
This competition also involves a little intimidation, and a little skill.
"We don't just cheer for our girls," said Sparlin. "We'll cheer to make noise and try to get in their heads, to intimidate."
"We probably try to out stunt them a little bit," said Cordes. "It's nice to show off to other teams when we feel like we can do more. "
"If we can do something they can't, then I consider us better," said Pratt.
In the end, it's all for the same purpose: to have fun and cheer the Purdue women's basketball team on to the next round of the NCAA tournament. Which they did.
The Purdue women's basketball team will face South Carolina on Monday at 7:00 p.m. at Mackey Arena.
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