The sound of a doorhandle puts a boisterous party on hold.
After a win, the OSU women’s basketball team will retreat to their locker room, while coach Jim Littell lags slightly behind.
The previously empty room quickly fosters a celebratory atmosphere as 14 Cowgirls jump around, snap white Gatorade towels at one another and let their emotions uncoil after a tense game.
“I think it’s, we’re all hype and then we hear the door handle, and everybody calms down for a second, and as soon as (Littell) opens the door, just everybody yelling, screaming,” OSU sophomore Kassidy De Lapp said.
According to De Lapp, the postgame celebrations are usually led by senior Natasha Mack and junior Ja’Mee Asberry.
“I think Mack gets really hyped, Ja’Mee gets really hyped and I think those two kind of lead it, and everybody feeds off of their energy,” De Lapp said.
Senior Abbie Winchester is one of the players known to feed off the energy in a locker room. De Lapp mentioned that Winchester will give a “rah rah” scream after wins that adds to the celebration.
Littell said that early in his coaching career, after a win, he would too quickly turn his thoughts to the next game without taking a moment to enjoy the victory. At this point in his career, Littell and the Cowgirls don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy success.
“This game can be really hard at times but then it needs to be fun and you need to take a little while and enjoy the successes that you have because it’s hard to get wins in (the Big 12) and you better enjoy it when you get them,” Littell said.
As many OSU students know, not all parties are created equal, and the same goes for locker room celebrations.
The best locker room party De Lapp has been a part of was after OSU’s 57-55 victory over West Virginia last season in Morgantown.
The Cowgirls came into the game missing many key players because of injuries, in fact, De Lapp didn’t even play after breaking her hand earlier that week. In the game, OSU had several bench players step up to play critical minutes down the stretch.
“We just went into the locker room and everybody was just jumping around because it was just such a cool game (because we realized), ‘Wow, we are such a deep team.’ The energy in that locker room at an away game was so cool,” De Lapp said.
Littell said that although the locker room celebration was great when OSU beat Purdue to advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2014 NCAA Tournament and when the Cowgirls won the 2012 WNIT tournament, his favorite locker rooms are after Beldam wins.
The energy in the locker room after a Bedlam win is unmatched, and the only thing that kept players dousing their coach in water after the Cowgirls’ win in Norman earlier this year was Littell shouting he didn’t have a change of clothes.
However, not every game ends with a victory, and not every postgame locker room has a celebratory feel. The feel of the locker room has a lot to do with what transpired on the court.
“If you went out there and didn’t do your best and you know it and you just made a lot of mistakes and didn’t really compete to the best of your ability, that locker room is quiet,” De Lapp said.
For the Cowgirls, a great locker room celebration does not occur because players start spraying water bottles or jumping around. A good celebration happens for the same reasons a locker room can feel so melancholy after a loss: what the team did before arriving to the locker room.
“I think there’s two things (that make a postgame locker room fun),” Littell said. “When you’ve prepared and earned it. The preparation that you’ve done to get the win and then just winning, there’s just nothing like that.”