The Gonzaga Women’s Basketball Team: Going Into The NCAA With Tw - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

The Gonzaga Women’s Basketball Team: Going Into The NCAA With Two #1 Fans

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SPOKANE, Wash – The Gonzaga women have certainly come quite a long way since the team first took the floor, and Gary and Joyce Blazek have been by their side for almost two decades.

In fact, they're the people ever to buy season tickets for the women's games when they were first offered with the opening of the McCarthey Athletic Center on campus, and to this day, you'll find them in the front row sitting next to head coach Kelly Graves' kids.

"They don't have to look for us, we're in the front row right behind them," Joyce Blazek explained.

Their love affair with the team developed almost by happenstance; neither of them are Gonzaga alumni, but 15 or 16 years ago, they got caught-up in the improving women's teams around the Inland Northwest, and found their fit with Gonzaga.

"[Back then] they'd have a cigar box, so you'd give them your $3 and they'd give you a ticket, and that's how fancy they were," Gary Blazek recalled with a laugh.

"So we were excited before they got good, but now it's even more exciting, and to have that fan base is wonderful," Joyce added.

You could call them fans turned family.

"I have my Gonzaga necklace, we have different pictures and signs," she explained.

The couple brings the team cookies, sees them off on road trips, and even babysits Assistant Coach Jodi Berry's little boy every week.

"We run around the house with our Gonzaga flags, we have megaphones and we run around yelling Gonzaga bulldogs, and then we have to sing the star spangled banner, and he loves all that," Joyce said.

The Blazek's have even spent their birthdays with the team; one family photo shows Gary in the middle of a team practice years ago, and Joyce celebrated one year by having teammates sign a GU basketball – complete with famous former player Courtney Vandersloots' autograph.

They already have their NCAA tickets, and are looking forward to the games kicking off in the McCarthey Athletic Center.

"I'm hoping for two wins here, and then if they win here, they get to go all the way down to Boone Street," Gary said, smiling.

Although they don't have any grandchildren of their own, you could say the Blazek's have adopted all 16 of the teammates.

Their message for the team?

"We love ya, do your best, and we'll be right there cheering you on," they said.

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