YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Eastern Michigan women’s basketball team got stranded in Pennsylvania for hours over the weekend after a three-point loss to Buffalo.
Players were expecting a long bus ride home after Saturday’s close loss, but they had no idea how long it would actually turn out to be.
“They closed I-90 west, so we had to use the GPS,” head coach Fred Castro said. “It took us through some back roads to get back to I-90 and, unfortunately, one of those back roads, by definition, was not necessarily ideal for an 18-wheeler in bad weather.”
The team left Buffalo on Saturday morning and, about an hour later, they were stuck in Girard, which is just west of Erie, Pennsylvania.
“At first it was fun, but then the hours start to pass, and then you’re, like, ‘Whoa, OK, guys, we might not get out of here,’” junior guard Areanna Combs said.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances, the team made the most of the experience.
“Me and a few girls on the back -- we actually built a fort out of blankets,” Combs said. “It was fun. We were just talking about things to make time pass by.”
After a few hours of team bonding, the team was rescued and taken to the Girard Fire Station, where they dressed up one of their teammates in full firefighter gear.
“Everybody was getting more comfortable,” Combs said. “Everybody was loosening up after a tough loss, so I think it cheered up the mood.”
“You know, we’ve got a group that really enjoys being around each other,” Castro said. “I’m a firm believer that the best teams that perform on the court are also close off the court, and Sunday was a great example of it.”
The team finally made it home around 11:30 p.m. Sunday.