SEC fans gather in downtown Greenville for tournament opener


GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Thousands of fans flocked to downtown Greenville for the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament opener at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena Wednesday morning.

“We all just love it and have a good time,” said Vanderbilt fan Denise Bush. “We have a Kentucky fan, Tennessee fans, and then Vandy fans. All of us come together and cheer for each other’s teams. As long as we’re not playing each other.”

Colors from all over the South Eastern Conference on display and worn with pride as SEC faithfuls get ready for another week of fun. To many it’s become tradition. Like Carolyn
Dixon and Carolyn Ann Kelch. They’ve been friends since high school, and have been coming to the tournament together for years.

“We really enjoy them. We always do a little extra shopping, just trying different restaurants,” said Dixon.

“We have a great blast,” said Kelch. “We have a lot of Tennessee fans and they’re very supportive.”

But this tournament isn’t just for the die-hard fans. It has a little something for everyone. A Bethel Elementary 5th grade class came to enjoy the numerous activities and entertainment.

“It was very good to be here,” said 5th-grader Sandra Brown. “We loved all the dances
that the cheerleaders did. That was the most fun part.”

“My favortie was probably walking around with all my friends and playing the games and stuff and the music,” said classmate Lily Cortray.

This is the 4th year that the Bon Secours Wellness Arena has hosted the SEC Tournament, and they’ll be back for a fifth in 2021. Fans who have been coming from the start say this location stands out from many of the other venues.

“It’s about an 8-hour trip for us,” said Mississippi State fan Bob Schwanebeck. “And we look forward to coming here, because it’s a nice clean town and parking is easily accessible.”

“They love this arena, this facility, because of the ease of getting in,” said SEC Assistant Commissioner Leslie Claybrook. “…the concourse, the concessions, the seating, the sidelines are amazing. They love the city here of Greenville, because of all the amenities it has to offer them.”

And whether or not their team makes it to the title game, these fans are focused
primarily on having fun.

“We have been going to the SEC since as long as I can remember,” said Bush…We just love the comeraderie of it. Just spending time and hanging out together. Bonding time, you know? With our friends.”

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